And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:18).
Prayer isn’t an activity separate from putting on God’s armor. “ . . . on all occasions with all kinds of prayer and request” suggests Paul wants us to put on “the belt of truth” while praying, to put “ , , , the breastplate of righteousness in place” as we pray, etc.
Paul urges us to “ . . . pray in the Spirit”. In this armor-context he means engage the enemy in prayer. Pray empowered by the Spirit. “Be alert” in prayer, like a sentry on duty against the enemy, realizing that evil spirit powers are on the prowl against “all the saints”. This isn’t “grocery list” praying; this is “warfare” prayer.
Dr. Sam Storms (Pastor, Bridgeway Church, Oklahoma City) offers six forms such prayer might take . .
“1, Praying for ourselves and others to be given insight and understanding into who we are in Christ and what is ours through faith (Eph. 1:15ff.).
2, Prayers of resistance and rebuke of the enemy. E.g.,
‘Satan, I rebuke you in the authority of Jesus Christ. I declare your works in my life destroyed. Jesus triumphed over you in the wilderness, on the cross, and in the grave. His resurrection has sealed your fate. I triumph over you now in the strength of his name. I resist and rebuke your efforts to oppress, afflict, or deceive me. I remove from you the right to rob me of the joy and fruit of my salvation. Through the power of the blood of Calvary, I command all powers of darkness assigned to me, sent to me, or surrounding me now, to leave. Go where Jesus Christ orders you to go, never to return’ (Tom White, 116).
3, Prayers of protection, to shield, guard, support,, etc.
“Lord, I commend and entrust _______ into your watchful care. May your glory surround and protect him/her. May you drive away the enemy and deliver him/her from all evil and temptation and every attack of the evil one.”
4, Prayers for the places where you go, stay, live (especially when traveling or in a strange location). E.g.,
‘Lord, I claim this place for your purposes. I stand on the truth of your Word: ‘The scepter of the wicked will not remain over the land allotted to the righteous’ (Ps 125:3). I believe you have given me this place. I dedicate it to you, and ask you to fill it with your holy presence. I separate myself from any iniquity that has occurred here in past times. I apply the power of Jesus’ blood to remove any desecration of God’s name in this place. I ask you, in Jesus’ authority, to set watching angels around this property for your purposes, protecting your servant from the work of the evil one’ (White, 118-19).
5. Prayer for the demonized when you are ministering to them. E.g.,
(l) that the demons may be cut off from all communication and help from other demons and Satan,
(2) that the demons would be confused and weakened in their hold on the person.”
“Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should” (Ephesians 6:19,20).
Paul accepts his imprisonment as God’s will. He doesn’t ask his readers to pray for his rescue but to pray that fear won’t silence him. Even in chains making the gospel known is paramount. Paul turns his readers’ attention from his suffering and their conflict to the need for the gospel to be proclaimed in the world’s darkness, where the evil one works.
After 25 years of gospel-preaching and church-planting, Paul’s reliance on prayer is remarkable. Pray that words may be given me. Pray that I may declare the gospel without fear.
“Tychicus, the dear brother and faithful servant in the Lord, will tell you everything, so that you also may know how I am and what I am doing. I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage you. Peace to the brothers, and love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love” (Ephesians 6:21-24).
Tychicus was one of Paul’s companions on the way from Corinth to Jerusalem. He will deliver this letter to Ephesus, tell the church how Paul is, and encourage the believers.
When Paul wishes peace, love and grace to the church, he’s not just writing nice words. He expects the Holy Spirit to actually convey those blessings “to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ.” It’s an implication that, though caught up in spiritual war, the church will prevail through her Lord’s resources.
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I find that focus on God’s sovereignty dims my view of the evil one’s work. God’s in control, so why pray against Satan? Paul’s call to prayer here, however, implies that this prayer is necessary if we’re to walk in victory. William Cowper (18th century English poet and hymn writer) wrote . . .
“Satan trembles when he sees
the weakest saint upon his knees.”
May Satan tremble at our prayers! May we walk in the light of victory over the prince of darkness because, like soldiers on alert, we are praying!