18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.
In our passage, we are told to be strong in the Lord, to put on the armor He has provided. We have looked at that the last two weeks. We are also told to not wrestle with people, but with spiritual forces opposed to God. And now in today’s passage we are told to pray in the Spirit. It is my contention that one of the ways that we wrestle with Spiritual forces is that we pray.
- Pray in the Spirit
There is an obvious connection between the books of Ephesians and Colossians! They are very similar. Like 80% the same.
We are wrestling in prayer, like Epaphrus!
12 Epaphrus, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.
- Pray for power
Acts 2: they devoted themselves to…prayer.
James 5:18 says “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” And it uses the example of Elijah and it not raining.
Ephesians 3: 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations
Jesus tells His Disciples in the Garden, “Watch and pray”. Why? So that they might not fall into temptation. That means that they are to stand against, or to wrestle with Spiritual forces. Why? Because while your spirit is willing, your flesh is weak. You are fighting against yourself. Pray for power!!
- Pray in a directed manner
Romans 8: 26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
praying in tongues? I Cor 14: 2 For anyone who speaks in a tongue[a] does not speak to people but to God. Indeed, no one understands them; they utter mysteries by the Spirit.
14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful.
18 I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. 19 But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue.
Ok. I don’t think this is the main emphasis here. Instead, it is connecting to God in prayer and allowing God to direct our prayers consciously. This teaches us and encourages us and builds our relationship with God.
I John 5: 14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.
- Pray with persistence
Pray until you are done with the issue. God will direct you in this I believe. Some things that are open ended are hard to pray for. And the repetition is not the issue. We are told that it is a misunderstanding to think that we are heard because of our many words. On the other hand, Luke 11: We are to pray with persistence because our prayer are not going to be answered right away. Or at least that is when prayer will be trouble.
There are some spiritual issues that we would do well to get angry about and pray. Pray and press into God, entreat Him to act.
(The Psalmist is an example!) Be bold and yet recognize that your wisdom and understanding are limited compared to His, your love is pitiful compared to His, your power and goodness are not to be compared to God! But be bold still. You are invited in Hebrews 4:16
A most underrated character quality is persistence. In the Christian life, if you do not quit on your faith, you cannot lose.
- Pray on all occasions
- Always be ready to talk to God
I Thes 5: 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
The reason that we need to pray on all occasions is that we need to see God at work in every aspect of our lives. God’s will applies to everything. And this does not mean that our prayers are all requests. Praise and thanksgiving are prayers as well.
Hallowed be Thy name. (Establish the proper focus in prayer)
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. (Establish the proper priorities in life.)
Protect us from our weaknesses
- There are no issues that are off limits
James 1: 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
Keep in mind that prayer is not a substitute for action.
- Develop the habit of going to God first
His perspective is the perspective that gives life.
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
III. Pray Alertly for Others
- Those who pray are co-workers
II Cor 1:
8 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters,[a] about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, 11 as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.
- Your prayer matters
Matthew 26: 36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
- Paul wants others to pray for him
30 I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me.31 Pray that I may be kept safe from the unbelievers in Judea and that the contribution I take to Jerusalem may be favorably received by the Lord’s people there, 32 so that I may come to you with joy, by God’s will, and in your company be refreshed.