Commentary on Ephesians, 6:18

Ephesians 6:18

“17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,
18 with all prayer and supplication praying at all seasons in the Spirit, and watching thereunto in all perseverance and supplication for all the saint.”

Reworded:

“with every kind of prayer and entreaty praying in the Spirit at all times. To that end be alert with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints,”

“with every kind of prayer and entreaty”

In all of our prayers, in all it’s various forms….including our requests.

Though Paul doesn’t associate prayer with a particular part of the soldier’s armor, prayer, nonetheless, completes the Christian soldier’s armor in our warfare against the forces of evil. We might compare prayer to the Roman soldier’s pilum (spear). Like a spear, it pierces through the darkness to the ready ears of Almighty God. Prayer is our direct link to the Ruler of the universe, which includes the sphere of darkness. 

Only eternity will reveal all that God accomplished through the prayers of His people. To the doubts of many, great miracles may still abound in answer to our prayers. Seemingly hopeless situations may still be turned around. Where there is no way, prayer still provides a way. Even ungodly, tyrannical governments can still be overthrown as a result of prayer. History records special prayer movements that resulted in great spiritual revivals. That can still happen today. Prayer changes things. Prayer makes a difference. Prayer is our greatest weapon. There are no opposing weapons strong enough to overcome the prayers of God’s people. 

However, as Paul instructs us, in order for our prayers to be effective, we must “pray in the Spirit.” That means to pray while walking in the Spirit, walking in the power of the Spirit. Our lives must be in harmony with the Spirit. That means we must allow the Holy Spirit to lead us in the way of holiness. Sin in our lives breaks the power of prayer. If we’re living a self-seeking life, we can’t expect God to honor our prayers. 

However, if we’re allowing the Holy Spirit to lead our lives, He will also lead us in our prayers and give power to our prayers. We may not always be certain about the will of God, but as we’re walking in the Spirit, God will answer the prayers of our hearts according to whatever His will is in any particular situation. If we know we’re walking in fellowship with God, then we can be confident about our prayers being answered. We simply need to rest in God for His will to be done in our lives. 

In regard to not always knowing what the will of God is in a particular situation, that’s where we need to be praying for wisdom and guidance, and to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s voice. That also means we need to be spending a lot of time in God’s Word. If we’re not in the Word, and if we don’t have a proper understanding of the Word, we can easily be deceived by the voices we hear.

All of this shows why it’s so important to stay close to God. The closer we are in our relationship with the Lord, the more we’ll understand the will of God, and the more confident we’ll be of our prayers being answered and needs being met….even when uncertain about the will of God. The Holy Spirit will give power to our prayers even during those times. We just need to be faithful in praying about everything, and leave the results to God.

“to that end be alert”

With everything we’ve just discussed in mind, we’re to be alert (watchful and aware). Nothing in life should take us by surprise. We should be aware of what’s going on around us. There are three areas where we should be alert: the world, the Church, and in our own lives. We’re to walk in wisdom. We should be sensitive to those things that please God and to the things that don’t. We should be able to discern between the holy and the unholy, between the distinctly Christian and the worldly. We should be in such harmony with God that we’ll be able to see through His eyes. Again, that means we must become diligent students of the Word of God. 

“with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints”

Furthermore, we’re to persevere in being alert (watchful and aware). As followers of Christ, we’re not to go through life oblivious to what’s going on around us. We have an important purpose to fulfill in this life, and that requires being alert. Being watchful and aware of what’s going on in the world and in the Church and in our own personal lives is to be a daily, moment by moment practice. The forces of evil are at work to destroy God’s people, to destroy the Church, to keep the lost from coming to faith in Christ. Therefore, we’re not to be ignorant of Satan’s “crafty schemes” (Eph 6:11; 2 Cor 2:11). 

In view of the destructive and crafty ways of the devil, we’re to be watchful for the purpose of interceding or praying for the saints. As Christians, we’re to be praying for one another at all times. We need to be praying for those we know personally, for those in our local assembly, and for Christians around the world….especially those who live in countries where Christianity is outlawed and Christians are being persecuted in extreme ways (torture, burning of churches and homes, imprisonment, etc.). 

In regard to what goes on in our local churches, here is an area where I believe we have not been very alert or watchful or aware. Pastors and other Christian leaders shouldn’t be taken in by the clever schemes of the evil one. They need to pay close attention to where we are spiritually, and where we’re suppose to be as holy, imitators of God. Are churches today distinctly Christian, or do they blend with the world? Same question needs to be asked of ourselves as individual followers of Christ.

In conclusion, a Christian weak in prayer will be weak in life. A church weak in prayer will be weak in effectiveness for the Lord.