Bible Reading: Ephesians 6:10-20
“praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To the end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words , may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.” (Ephesians 6:18-20)
As we wrap up this series on the armour of God, Paul’s final exhortation is to pray in the Spirit. The essence of the whole armour of God is not that we would be fully equipped and self-confident in the graces we have obtained to fight Satan and the world. It is folly to pride ourselves on as soldiers because, in reality, we are all like Peter. We say, “I will never deny You, Lord!” but the next thing we know, we have rejected God numerous times.
Paul’s call to pray in the Spirit at all times with all prayers is a call to submit ourselves as a church, as an army of God, to total dependence on Christ our head and pioneer in this battle. It is a calling to humility in which we must realise our helplessness and incapability to follow God and our tendency to fall. We must learn that we are weak soldiers who would have no sense of duty if it weren’t for the grace of God; instead, we would make friends and conform with the enemy.
Reflect upon ourselves. Is there anything worthy where we may boast and say we are fit warriors of Christ? We slumber to put on our armour. And even when we do, it is not long until we put down our guard and take it off. Our only strength in this battle is Christ Himself, who intercedes for us in heaven. He is the one who cleanses our sins and empowers us to live for His glory on earth, a grace not one of us deserves. We must pray to Him and rely on Him with all humility.
Again here, we must examine ourselves. The trap of pride is yet again waiting to ensnare us. Often we think we can confidently rely on God through our petitions in prayer. We think we know how to pray, and we know how to depend on God. We are counting on ourselves that we know how to rely on God.
Prayer is not a display of our confidence. Prayer is relying on the Spirit. Romans 8:26-27 says, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”
We do not know how to pray. The Spirit knows how to pray and what to pray because as He intercedes for us, he does so according to God’s will in heaven. Trust in Him and surrender yourself in prayer and all things.
Only by prayer in the Spirit and utter reliance on God will we be able to buckle the belt of truth and ground our feet in the solid truths of the Bible. Only by the Spirit are we able to put on practical righteousness and obedience. The message of the gospel of peace can only ready us if the Spirit works its truth into our hearts. And where does a firm assurance of faith and salvation come from if not the grace of God? Even more, unless the Spirit works through His Word, we will yield our sword in vain before the devil.
Learn to pray. Learn to be helpless and to surrender all to God in prayer. Fall on your knees, not before the eyes of man, but in secret before God. Give up your strength for His. Lay down your pride for humility. Furthermore, remember to pray for the whole congregation of saints. We are an army, and we are one. Pray for the church because the church and you are of one body. Pray for the leaders of the church who must rise boldly to preach the spoken Word. Bring all the church into utter dependence on the Spirit and mercy of Jesus Christ.
Only by this will we grow to keep alert and persevere. This is our strategy of war and the victory of the Christian life. Will you learn to submit yourself in complete utter dependence on Him?
Lord, please teach me how to pray in the Spirit. Teach me to surrender all to You in utter dependence. Please work amongst Your church. Give a deepening faith to all Your saints that we may grow in reliance on You and humility. Give us victory in Your own way and as we grow to see it, let us wonder in Your grace and give all the glory to You. In Jesus’ name, amen.