A Life of Prayer
Updated: Oct 29, 2021
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints. Ephesians 6:18
The apostle Paul has given the church of Ephesus instructions on how to put on the armor of God so that they would be able to resist, fight, and stand firm against all the strategies of the enemy. As he comes to the end of his counsel, he instructs them to pray.
Prayer is our lifeline to God and Scripture tells us men ought always to pray. (Luke 18:1) I know, you might be thinking, always pray? It’s not that we live in our prayer closets, or walk around verbally praying all day. We’ve got stuff to do right? God knows we do, but having a constant awareness of God and being in continual communion with Him in Spirit brings great blessing and endowment of power. This is not an easy discipline and I know very well that it’s way much easier said than done.
By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us His Spirit. 1 John 4:13
Most days after my morning prayer time I have good intentions of staying in touch with God throughout the day. You know, involve Him in my decisions, attitudes, behaviors, and responses. Engage Him, acknowledge Him, listen to Him, adore Him and meditate on His Word. I begin my day determined in my heart to keep my mind stayed on Jesus amid my everyday duties and make prayer my default in all things.
So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31
Well, I can honestly say that my sincerest intention is to live from a place of constant abiding, but most of the time it just doesn’t happen that way. That sweet spirit of prayer and the undeniable glorious Presence of God that I experienced earlier that morning seems to somehow get lost in the busyness, distractions, and activities of the day. Don’t get me wrong I have my moments but I desire more than moments, I desire a life of prayer birthed from a deep-seated abiding in Christ; a life of walking with God in a spirit of prayer.
I long to have a prayer life that's as natural and automatic as the breaths I take without any intentionality of my own. Yet, I’ve come to realize that cultivating a life of prayer without being “in” my set time of prayer can be rather difficult, but it’s a practice worth its weight in God.
The apostle Paul exhibited this high prayer life. He was a man of great humility, compassion, power, love, and prayer. These God-honoring attributes were poured out from a heart of continual communion with God and led him to pray some pretty amazing, blazing, heartfelt, Holy Spirit-filled prayers for the saints.
We’re going to get to just a few of Paul’s fervent prayers but first, it’s good to establish that without prayer, our connection to God, the armor would be of no avail. I mean, it is the armor of GOD and in order to fight the good fight of faith and effectively execute our weapons of warfare, we must be connected to Him through the “vehicle” of prayer.
Praying in the Spirit
Paul instructs the church of Ephesus to pray in the Spirit and his prayer life embodied intercessions and supplications that were birthed in the Spirit; directly from the heart of God. Paul lived a life of such close unbridled connection to God that his prayers were not his own, his prayers overflowed from his fellowship with God, prayers birthed from the indwelling Christ. His life was so surrendered, so woven into Christ’s and this empowered him for a life of unyielded service and shaped his prayers.
But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him. 1Corinthians 6:17b
The apostle Paul instructed the believers in Ephesus to be watchful. We must take heed to be watchful in the natural and in the Spirit. "Watchful" in this verse; means to be sleepless or to stay awake. This is not to mean physical sleep but to stay alert in the Spirit. Some things we know to pray in our understanding and Holy Spirit leads us in prayer, like for a sick loved one, our nation, or for the salvation of a friend. Then there are specific things revealed by the Spirit. Flesh and blood do not reveal it to us but the Spirit of God. (Matthew 16:17) This is why we must seek to be watchful in our prayers with unbroken fellowship and dependence on the Holy Spirit to pray, discern His promptings, movements, and directives. He prays perfectly according to the will of God.
Perseverance and supplication for all the saints
The apostle Paul persevered passionately in earnest prayer for the saints. This weighty God-given burden was garnered from a life resigned to God and focused on the things above. (Colossians 3:1) He lived on earth but his life was in heaven. He longed to be there with Christ but thought it needful to remain and continue to help the church progress in their faith, and a significant way of him accomplishing that was to pray for them. Paul’s outlook was always heavenward and so were his prayers.
Paul’s instructions for the church of Ephesus are a very timely reminder for believers today. He prayed with fervency, watching’s, fastings, heaviness, and sorrow of heart for God's people. He was so heavily grieved in his heart concerning Israel and bore witness in the Holy Spirit,
My heart is filled with bitter sorrow and unending grief for my people, my Jewish brothers, and sisters. I would be willing to be forever cursed—cut off from Christ!—if that would save them. Romans 9:2-3 (NLT)
Now, I really want us to catch this because it's quite significant and furthermore it's hard for me to even wrap my mind around it. Paul’s anguish was continual and so great that he was willing to be separated from Christ if it meant that Israel would be saved from God's wrath and be united to Him? Who among us can pray this kind of prayer? This level of sacrifice and is beyond baffling. But if we really reflect deeper, wasn’t this the heart of our Savior? He came down from heaven and was separated from the Father so that we could be united to Him? The apostle Paul apprehended the heart of Christ and lived it. He not only lived it; he prayed it.
The apostle Paul followed Jesus’ example of prayer by cultivating continual communion with the Father through prayer and it empowered him for his earthly pilgrimage. His habits of prayer and heavenly posture of heart enabled him to endure incomprehensible sufferings and even amidst these unimaginable hardships he did not cease giving thanks and making mention of others in prayer. Listen to Paul’s heart for the church in Rome,
For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you in my prayers, making request if, by some means, now, at last, I may find a way in the will of God to come to you.
Time after time the apostle Paul gives thanks for the churches and prays without ceasing. Hear his heart as he travailed for the church in Galatia,
“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you.”
Paul passionately takes on the heart of a loving and caring father as he prays for his "children" in Galatia. Who among us is willing to cry aloud and labor in holy travail until Christ is formed in others as if they were our own child? This was Paul's heart; one with God the Father, full of unfailing love praying through until Christ was birthed in the hearts of others.
“We joy for your sakes before our God; night and day praying exceedingly that we might perfect that which is lacking in your faith.”
1 Thessalonians 3:9-10
The apostle Paul and his fellow laborers gave joyful thanks to God for the church in Thessalonica. Praying day and night for the perfecting of their faith. I ask, who among us will joyfully give up rest to pray in the night watches on behalf of our fellow saints? I don’t know about you, but when I get the "nudge" in my spirit to rise up and pray in the wee hours of the night while I’m reveling in my “good sleep”, well let me just say that the struggle is real but Paul and his fellow laborers delighted in joy before God on the believer’s account day and night!
So what was their motivation? What made them go so hard and incessantly in prayer to God on behalf of others? Hear the apostle Paul’s heart as he prays;
“And may the Lord cause you to increase and excel and overflow in love for another, and for all people, just as we also do for you." 1 Thessalonians 3:12
Love was the spring of living waters from whence their prayers flowed. Love that spilled over from God's own heart in deep fellowship, in Truth and Spirit. A most "common thread" in Paul’s prayers for the churches were things of the Spirit.
As members of the Body of Christ, we are interdependent on one another. We rely on each other for encouragement, comfort, strength, and prayers. There are no victorious"lone rangers" in God's army. We need the support of our fellow soldiers to aid and assist in battle.
When in battle, one effective military tactic that the Roman army used when under heavy attack is called the testudo formation. The testudo was a type of shield wall that the soldiers would lock together to form a very strong and tight formation. There were no gaps in between and they would be held in such a way that would make a shield wall on the top and all sides. Together the soldiers made a durable and effective defensive barrier to protect one another against the arrows and missile attacks of their enemies.
In like manner, it is imperative that we lock tightly together in faith, leaving no gaps in between, covering, building unpenetrable walls of prayer; strong barriers leaving no side open for an ambush so that we are be able to resist and quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one and empower one another to stand when we're under heavy attack from the enemy or otherwise.
So I sought a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land. Ezekiel 22:30a
In order that the enemy does not outwit us, we must not be ignorant of his devices. ( 2 Corinthians 2:11) The enemy strategizes to bulldoze holes, create gaps, breaches in the Body of Christ by stirring up discord, division, prejudices, and other conflicts. He knows that in Christ we are more than conquerors so his aim is to divide and conquer. Hence we must be repairers of the breach by interceding. To intercede literally means to come between. Who among us is willing to stand in the gap, come between God and man and cry out for mercy, purification, and repentance on behalf of the Church; sparing not, for the unity of the faith?
For this purpose, the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. 1 John 3:8b
Like the apostle Paul and his fellow laborers of the gospel of Jesus Christ, we must cultivate a life of abiding so that we may have a great impact for His kingdom, live an overcoming life that brings Him glory, and increase and abound in love to one another so that He may establish our hearts blameless in holiness before Him.
May we often recall God to mind. He so freely gave may so freely give Him the highest place. As we sojourn in this life may we never lose sight of our Bridegroom who loves us with unfailing love, whose dowry was His shed blood on the cross of Calvary; His very life. He's coming back for a pure Bride.
As His Bride may we ready ourselves; bask in His love, adorn ourselves in His holiness, loving Him with all hearts, minds, souls, and strength. Panting after Jesus as a deer pants for the water brooks, may our soul's thirst for Him. (Psalm 42:1)
May the one thing we most desire and seek after, that we may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of our lives. To behold His beauty and inquire in His temple. (Psalm 27:4)
Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God.
Thank you so much for joining me in unpacking the armor God. I pray that you were greatly blessed and even more equipped to fight the good fight of faith!
Yours in prayer,
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