Ephesians 6:18-20 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all saints and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth bodily to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
Last week we saw how verse 17 speaking about the helmet and the sword of the Spirit is connected to prayer and supplication in the Spirit. This week we are considering how verse 18 through 20 is inter-related, that is, prayer for all saints and specific prayer for Paul.
What Paul is instructing concerning prayer, for many, is unimaginable and quite a difficult discipline. These verses can be easily skipped right over. How can one “pray always?” First, we must rid ourselves of “religious” ideas of prayer. To name a few: such as going to a building to pray. That prayer is not a position, like kneeling or closing your eyes. Kneeling and closing one’s eyes can be part of our prayer practice, but not essential to prayer itself!
Prayer is first and most importantly a lifestyle. When the disciples asked Jesus to “teach them to pray,” He was not teaching them simply a “recited” prayer, but the components of prayer. Think about what Jesus taught concerning prayer recorded in Matthew 9:6-9:
- Our Father – prayer is fundamental to our relationship with God who is our Father. He is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who makes it possible through the work of the Holy Spirit to give to each believer “regeneration” or being “born again.” We are regenerated or born again by the Holy Spirits power working in us. As a new creation in Christ, (see 2 Corinthians 5:17), we have a longing to spend time with our heavenly Father in prayer and His word.
- Which art in heaven – A clear distinction is made between a “natural father” and “our Heavenly Father.” God is the Father of a “new creation man and woman.” We have seen this throughout the book of Ephesians. “One New Man” in Christ. He is the head and we are His body. He is our “High Priest.” We are a “kingdom of Priests.”
- Hollowed be your name – Our God, who is our Father, is altogether holy. Only by prayer and the word of God can one begin to perceive how holy is our great God and Father. In His presence, His glory moves on us and is in us to move through us. It is from His presence we can enter into true worship as Jesus said in John 4:23-24. “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth.”
- Your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as in heaven – The message is the “kingdom.” To be sure, the message is not the church! The church or the body of Christ is the messenger and not the message! This is a crucial mistake that has been made down through history, beginning in the second century. The twentieth and twenty-first centuries are about bringing the church back to her primary message, “the kingdom of God.” This was Christ’s message and this was the apostle’s message, “repent for the kingdom of God is at hand.” That kingdom came in the person of the Holy Spirit (see Romans 14:17). Christ is reigning today over the kingdom of darkness and the nations. It is our responsibility to permit Him to reign in us, His people, and proclaim His reign to the nations.
- Your will be done – God’s will was first established and done by Jesus, His only begotten Son. God’s will is that the Lord’s church or His body would declare His will to the nations. God’s purpose is that the life of Jesus is revealed in and through the body of Christ in the earth even as in heaven (see Hebrews 12:18-29). This is why unity or the understanding, of the one new man, is so vital.