Read: Ephesians 6:18 NASB
“With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints…”
If Paul were here today teaching a class on spiritual warfare I imagine that it would carry the title “Prayer 101.” Everything about the book of Ephesians and the spiritual battle taking place there is covered in prayer. Whether it is Paul praying for them, or as he does here, asking them to pray for him. Prayer is everywhere. Because prayer is our primary way of gaining access to the authority and power of God in order to wage war with hell, prayer is given more prominence in the letter to the church in Ephesus than any other thing. Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:18 to “…pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.”
Praying in the Spirit is often a confusing and difficult thing to understand. Different people believe different things about praying, “In the Spirit.” For some it means following the lead of the Holy Spirit. For others it means being in tune or filled with the Holy Spirit before you pray. Still for others it means to pray in their spiritual language, or as many people call it, “praying in tongues.” Paul describes this in I Corinthians 14:2 when he says, “For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God; for no one understands, but in his spirit he speaks mysteries.” He goes on in verse 5 to say, “I wish you all spoke in tongues, but even more that you would prophesy.” So we know that “tongues” is in the Bible and a gift God has given His people to, as Paul says, “speak to God” or as we say, to pray.
Clearly there are two ways to pray found in the scriptures, I Corinthians 14:14-15 describes both, “For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. 15 So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my understanding; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my understanding.” Years ago I was taught that praying in tongues was wrong and unbiblical. It took me years to figure out that tongues were a gift that I could open up to just like every other spiritual gift. Once I did, I found one of my greatest weapons in prayer was my “prayer language” because there are many times I do not know how to pray with my thoughts or my mind, I am stumped, baffled and uncertain. It is those times that praying in the Spirit becomes a vital and essential part of my prayer life and one of the keys to my spiritual warfare prayers.
But friends, whether we are praying in the Spirit or praying with our mind Paul tells us to cover each other daily and to “be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.” With all perseverance, literally means to be firm and endure, to stay constant and unmovable, consistent and faithful. This is our call each day, to intercede and to hear what the Spirit is saying so we can pray into the battle and win the wars in our family’s and friend’s and our church’s lives.
Father, today I open to you Holy Spirit. Empower and equip me with all the gifts I need to pray effectively for others. I ask you to strengthen me so I will persevere in my prayers for others.