The Weapon of Prayer
By Dr. Tom Walker
Our text says in Ephesians 6:18: “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.”
We have been considering the weapons of our Christian warfare both offensive and defensive. It should never be forgotten that we are in a battle with Satan. His forces not only include fallen angels, but also human beings. There are some people the Devil uses to get his hellish ways carried out in this world. While the Devil does seem to win some skirmishes, we know from the Word of God who is going to win the battle. What a blessing to know we are on the Lord’s side and He is on our side!
We now move to the last weapon the Apostle Paul refers to in this important list of weapons, of which he has already referred. Because prayer is listed last, does not mean that it is the least important of all the other weapons previously mentioned. Prayer is extremely important because Jesus had much to say about it. Here are some references you might want to consider.
Matthew 26:41—–“Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Mark 11:24—–“Therefore I say unto you, “What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”
Jesus valued prayer to the extent he gave specific guidelines to our prayer in
Matt 6:9-13—”After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.” Christ did not give these words to constantly be the word-for-word content of our life of prayer. These are guidelines from which to pattern our petitions to God. We are to praise His name, to pray for His coming, to pray the will of God be done, for the Lord to forgive us and that we might forgive others, for us not to be led into temptation, and for the Lord to deliver us from evil.
As we consider this vital weapon in our Christian walks, let us look to a simple outline. First, the frequency of our prayers; second, the scope of our prayers; third the purpose of our prayers.
The Frequency of Our Prayers
He starts verse 26 by saying, “Praying always.” On the surface, it sounds like we are to pray twenty-four hours a day. Remember, Paul, is not putting prayer above putting on the armor. He has given the equipment of the Christian soldier, so now is stressing how important it is to pray and seek the Lord. When the Grecian armies went to war, they offered prayers to their false gods to make them successful in battle.
Praying to a god that does not exist is clear-cut foolishness, but spiritual warriors depend upon the Captain of our Salvation. We are to always be ready to pray whether we are in public, in private, within our own spirit, or spontaneously if we are asked to pray—on all occasions.
When the enemy attacks, we must be ready to pray and be alert. We are to pray continually in the Spirit of God and the power and sphere of the Spirit.
Jude 20 states: “But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost.” That brings up the question, what does praying in the Holy Ghost suggest? It certainly does not indicate praying in an unknown tongue. Here is what I believe it means.
* to pray under His guidance and influence, under His energy and power
* that we ask and seek His divine help as we come to the throne of grace
* that we focus our minds and concentrate upon the Holy Ghost to help us to pray in
dependence on His divine help
* that we ask and depend upon the Holy Spirit to cleanse our requests and make sure
we are asking according to the will of God
* that we walk in the Spirit from day to day, offering unbroken prayers to God all the
* that we set aside time every day to wrestle in prayer before God and for the need of
loved ones and for the needs of God’s people and others.
Certainly, we cannot pray too much. Most people could be convicted for not praying at all or not praying enough.
The Bible says in I Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing.” Prayer is God’s ordained way for man to receive things from Him. God moves, acts, and responds to prayer. Prayer is a law that He has established throughout the universe. Why? Because prayer stirs fellowship and communion with God and brings about a greater knowledge and understanding of God. It causes a person to learn more and more about God and stirs more trust as well as worship and praise of God. Prayer stirs and causes every good thing imaginable between God and man. This is the reason God destined prayer as the primary way for man to communicate with Him. This is the reason for this exhortation.
What different interpretations can one make of I Thessalonians 5:17?
1- Praying without fainting as in the parable in Luke 18:1
2- Praying with strength as in Romans 12:12
3- Praying in everything as in Philippians 4:6
4- Praying in any season of life whether things look good or bad.
The Scope of Our Prayers
Note the words “praying with all prayers and supplication.” The word “praying” speaks of a general conversation with God. It involves praises to God for who He is and for the blessings received. “Supplication” is a more intense word that points to making a request or asking God for something specific. James puts it this way (5:16), “The fervent, effectual prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” It is important to notice the word “fervent.” It speaks of an energetic prayer and one that wholeheartedly zeroes in on specific requests.
Someone said there are four forms of prayer. There is adoration, which acknowledges the greatness of God and the smallness of man. In addition, there is the prayer of contrition and repentance. Also, there is the prayer of thanksgiving and gratitude. Finally, there is the prayer of supplication, petition, and intercession.
The Assistant in Our Prayers
Think about the words, “In the Spirit.” Rom 8:26 tells us about the involvement of the Spirit in prayer and how He assists us when we pray. “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”
Your prayers may seem weak and you may feel like a failure in prayer. But, take heart, be encouraged, because the Holy Ghost assists you in your prayer life if He dwells within you.
The Caution in Our Prayers
Note the words–“Watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.” We should watch, stay awake, be attentive, and be ready as we seek the Lord in prayer and supplication. According to the Bible, it is of the utmost importance that we do not go to sleep in the spiritual battle in which we find ourselves.
Because of the urgency of the hour, we must persevere. To persevere is to be persistent, or keep on doing something, despite difficulty or delay in achieving success. The Bible teaches persistence in prayer if we are going to get the help we need (Matt. 7:7-8).
We are to keep on asking and keep on knocking before the Lord in the petition.
We need to supplicate because many others need our specific prayers for their needs. Don’t be too general in your praying; get specific if you want to get help for others or yourself.
Whatever we may fail daily, we dare not fail to pray because so many blessings are missed when we do not seek the face of God. If we are going to succeed in a spiritual battle, prayer is an indispensable way to succeed in that struggle.