This morning I woke with this thing on my mind. It had been part of the discussion I had with some friends the night before near the end of our discussion. It dealt with praying for all our brothers and sisters in Christ at all times.
You know we get prayer requests for the sick and those in need, but one thing God has laid on my heart is a need to pray for everyone, regardless of their perceived circumstances.
This morning when I woke I prayed and then read the K – Love email I get every morning. I followed that with Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers and that set today’s blog post.
Ephesians 6: 18
The verse in K – Loves Encouraging Word is Ephesians 6:18
Ephesians 6:18 (ESV) 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,
I went to my Bible to read the verse to help me get some context to the command to pray. I was convicted by its placement in Paul’s letter. It was near the end of his passage on ‘The Whole Armor of God’
Take the Initiative
The part that touched me was the close, and it linked back to this whole concept of prayer for me.
“We have to get into the habit of carefully listening to God about everything, forming the habit of finding out what He says and heeding it. If, when a crisis comes, we instinctively turn to God, we will know that the habit has been formed in us. We have to take the initiative where we are, not where we have not yet been.”
So this morning that is where I am. I have seen something that I had not noticed before, and I need to share it.
Praying – Ephesians 6:16-18a
For years, I had known that I need to pray for everyone; not just the sick or at risk members of the body, but everyone. Verse 18 in this passage is one of those that I have burned on my heart. But the thing is I had overlooked the context.
It is only a part of a sentence, so I looked at the whole sentence and saw how powerful that phrase was, and I was taken aback.
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.”
Praying – Ephesians 6:18b-20
What a powerful sentence. I realized that prayer is not a separate thought, but an integral piece
of the Full Armor of God. Paul says to put on all the pieces of the armor, but the thing he points out as part of the armor is getting my mind right in prayer. “praying in the Spirit.” Then in the next sentence in this passage, Paul reminds me who to pray for, and as I read that all I could think was, I am responsible for praying for everyone. My prayers are part of God’s armor for those for whom I pray.
18bTo that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.
Taking Initiative Part 2
Verses 18b through 20 are asking for specific prayers for Paul, that he may speak boldly the mystery of the gospel. He says keep alert and persevere. As I meditate on these passages, I am blown away but what I heard him asking me.
The thing is I am supposed to share the gospel; we all are. I need to keep alert and persevere and make supplication for all.
1 Timothy 2:1-4
Paul says the same thing to Timothy. He reminds him in 1 Timothy 2
1 Timothy 2:1-4 (ESV) 1 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
God desires that our prayers for all people; “This is good and pleasing to God our Savior”(1Tim 2:3). What a simple task we can do that is good and pleasing to God. It brings my heart joy and peace.
As I consider all this, and especially the tie to the ‘Full Armor of God’ I was forced to pause and consider the importance of my prayer life. It is as integral a part of the armor as any other piece, and Paul reminds us why we need every piece.
11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
There was something else I notice in verses 14-18a
14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 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.
Christ Jesus in Me
I have come to realize that prayer is not just a defensive weapon that I resort to in the midst of struggles. It is a weapon of offense, used to open my mind to the Word of God and to discuss all my issues with my heavenly father. It ties back into verse 11, ‘Put on the whole armor of God, which you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” Prayer is my anchor point. It strengthens my understanding, and it firms up my resolve in God’s truth. It is the key that connects me to God, and through the Holy Spirit, the prayer and study gives me understanding.
We so need this gift of prayer. Christ died that I might have access through Him. The veil tore from top to bottom. I am reminded of a passage in Hebrews 4
Hebrews 4:14-16 (ESV) 14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
What power there is in this passage. Prayer is my access to God, through Jesus; my great high priest.
I put all these thoughts together, and I see what Jesus did to provide my path to God. I look at all that He did to satisfy my debt. And that grace He shows me I must show others, and for me, one of the most powerful ways is to pray. Pray always for all people and though I do not know all peoples needs the Holy Spirit does, and He will fill in where I lack understanding.
Father, I pray for strength that I might stand against all the plans of the adversary. Lord help me that I might always put on all Your armor. Please soften my heart that I pray for all people Lord regardless of their circumstance. Help me trust you in all things and know that I am never alone.
Praise be to you, Lord. To you be the Glory, in Jesus name I pray, Amen!