Pray at All Times in the Spirit
Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
Eph. 618a (Holman) Pray. . .
Paul is discussing how Christians can stand fast in our war against Satan. Success will require prayer. We must learn what it means to fight on our knees.
If I had my life to live over, I would spend more time in my younger years trying to master the discipline of prayer. I wish I had read more biographies of prayer warriors, and more books about prayer. I am overwhelmingly conscious of a need for more power in my prayers, but find myself a 65-year-old possessing what I feel to be a 10-year-olds grasp of prayer. I should be approaching maturity in prayer, but am instead just beginning. I am playing catch up and I do not like it.
Dear fellow believers, we must give ourselves to prayer. These are desperate times in our nation, churches, and families. The battle is engaged. In times of spiritual warfare like ours, we must sound an alarm in the ears of Heaven. God waits to be taken. Lay hold on Him. When Satan attacks, we have the privilege and responsibility to send distress signals, specific requests for help, to Heaven. The devil cannot sever our communication line with God, but we can fail to use it.
The Knights of Charlemagne once unnecessarily suffered a terrible defeat. Reinforcements were waiting nearby, but Roland, the commander, was too proud to ask for help. All he had to do was blow his horn, but he refused to as a result, his men were massacred. Warriors, blow the horn of heaven. Call God to our aid.
Eph. 618b . . .at all times. . .
Pray on every occasion, in every incident of life. To assure we make the best of every situation, let everything, including our to do list, be a matter of prayer. Pray not only in crises, but habitually, in all types of circumstances.
Every Christian should have a prayerful spirit at all times, even in the busy-ness of life. Prayer is not a substitute for action or an encouragement to laziness. We pray while suited for battle, but even as we go forth to tend to the days affairs, we keep our hearts sitting at Gods gate.
We must learn to practice the presence of God, having a never-ending sense of communion with Him. A continually sensed consciousness of God is the foundation of all true spirituality.
This fosters a mindset that offers up prayers frequently. As soldiers, Christians are obligated to maintain constant contact with their heavenly Commanderinchief. Every true soldier fights under the consciously realized direction of a commanding officer, and stays in touch.
Scripture is the soldiers battleground Word from the Commanderinchief prayer is the Christian soldiers reply to the Commanderinchief at headquarters. This communication line must remain open and ready for use at all times.
In battle, few things more terrify a soldier than broken communication with headquarters. In WWI, a regiment went into the Argonne Forest and was lost. For days they were out of touch with headquarters. They were finally located, but in the meantime, their ranks had been terribly decimated.
Christian soldiers, fight, always recognizing we have a directing Superior. Prayer is our lifeline in battle. Offer up prayers as often as possible. Our Master prayed. If He sought strength by prayer, how can we His followers think we can live without it Jesus prayed at all times, long before dawn, in the evening hours, all night, before meals, etc. We, too, need to pray frequently, at dawn, noon, dusk, day and night. On coffee break, pray. Before breakfast, dinner, and supper, pray. Before we put our feet on the floor in the morning, and after we put them in the bed at night, pray. If suffering insomnia, turn sleepless hours into prayer times.
Praying at all times is what makes one a prayer warrior, and without exception, every conquering Christian has been a prayer warrior. The term itself is a wonderful paradox. It combines a word implying weakness (prayer) with one denoting strength (warrior). In prayer we are weak toward Christ, standing before Him in our frailty and dependence a stark contrast with Gods strength.
By kneeling in weakness before Christ in prayer, the believer is enabled to stand strong as a warrior before Satan. Be assured, Satan looks for prayerless saints. Nonpraying Christians tempt Lucifer to tempt them, but Satan trembles when he sees the weakest saints on their knees. When our prayers fetch Christ into the battle, we assure Satans defeat. Chrysostom said prayer was a whip to torment the devil, and to put him into another Hell. Amen. Pray at all times.
Eph. 618c . . .in the Spirit. . .
To be effective, prayers must be neither formal nor mechanical, but offered depending on the Holy Spirits direction and influence. Prayer, in its truest form, from beginning to end, is all of God–offered to the Father through the Son by the Spirit. To the Father–do not make the too common mistake of taking our difficulties to people instead of to God. Through the Son–pray in Jesus name His blood makes prayer possible. By the Spirit–He prompts true prayer.
The Holy Spirit helps us pray accurately. We know not what we should pray for as we ought (Romans 826). Only the Spirit can make our prayers precise. He sees the battlefield better than we do. Thus, we need to commit our prayers unto His guidance and editing. When kneeling to pray, do not always rush into the matter at hand. Pray to be enabled to pray. We do not want our own words and thoughts to predominate. We want to be taught how to pray, what to say.
The Holy Spirit helps us pray with fervent conviction. Prayer is a duty first, but should by the Spirits help turn into a delight, an unquenchable flaming desire. We need the Spirit to melt our formality into consuming fire, to set us ablaze, to burn away our lethargy. If our prayers do not stir our own hearts, what right do we have to expect them to move Gods heart A half-hearted prayer can bring no blessing from Heaven because it does not have enough energy to reach Heaven.
Pray, not in our strength, but in the Spirit, consciously aware an assisting Power is available to help us pray accurately and fervently. The Father entrusted the Bible, His words for us, to the Holy Spirit (617). We should reciprocate in kind, entrusting our words for the Father to the Holy Spirit. Pray in the Spirit.