Megan Evans, Women’s Ministry Director, LHBC
Ephesians 6:16-18 (ESV)
16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints
Do you ever find prayer to be a challenge? Or perhaps more accurately, do you find the action of praying to be a challenge? How would you describe your prayer life today?
While we may enjoy praying, we underestimate the battle that takes place to keep us inconsistent and unfocused. If you’ve ever forgotten to pray or wandered from prayer to grocery list, you know how susceptible we are. Deterrents to our consistency and focus are just some of the fiery darts that the enemy loves to throw at our prayer time.
As Paul closes his letter to the Ephesians, he instructs them to be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power; he tells them to put on the whole armor of God so that they (and we) can stand firm against all of the devil’s schemes (Ephesians 6:10). Verse 18 warns believers everywhere to stay alert, persevere, and pray continuously. Perseverance is an interesting instruction for prayer. We tend to associate perseverance with pushing through difficult or unpleasant conditions, but perseverance definitely ministers to our human tendency to fizzle out in our prayer life. Paul reminds us all that prayer is not optional, prayer is essential.
What a gift of closeness, conversation, and one-on-one connection that we get to enjoy with our Heavenly Father through prayer! The enemy naturally hates it when we pray because it empowers us with God’s strength and might (Ephesians 6:10), prayer breaks down strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:4-5), and prayer thwarts the enemy’s plans (John 10:10), just to name a few.
Ephesians 6 illustrates through warfare imagery that prayer is essential for our mission of following Christ. In this power packed punch of prayer guidance, Paul includes the phrase “praying at all times.” What in this distracting and chaotic world does that mean? We can’t possibly pray all the time without stopping, can we? Perhaps that is where perseverance guides us. Paul knew distraction well–the very words of this letter to the Ephesians were written from a prison cell, yet his prayer life was not defeated. His thoughts were not confined to his surroundings. Instead, he continues his ongoing conversation to God, fervently praying for other believers to understand the power of God in their lives (Ephesians 1:19) and the power of prayer and supplication (Ephesians 3:16).
Today, if your prayer life feels distracted and disjointed, ask God to grow the habit of prayer in your life. Start with something simple like gratitude and thankfulness throughout the day. Incorporate spontaneous prayers of repentance in the day as we realize our sin. Let the Holy Spirit teach you how to pray specifically and purposefully for ourselves and others. Prayer: whether one word, one minute, or one hour… Paul reminds us, every circumstance can be an opportunity to respond in prayer.
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Father God, thank you for hearing my prayers. Guide me into a flourishing prayer life with You. Remind me many times throughout the day to adore and praise you, to confess my sins before you, to thank you, and to bring the needs of myself and others to you. Teach me to pray fervently and often. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.
MEMORY VERSE OF THE WEEK:
2 Timothy 1:12
I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me.