Ephesians 6:18; Persistence in prayer and the importance of intercession.

Sunday July 24,2022

(Due to a technical issue, this lesson's recording is incomplete. We appologize and thank you for your understanding)

At the finish of Paul’s doctrine of the armor of God, Paul adds to the Christian soldier, the need for alert prayer for all the saints.


Eph 6:18

With all prayer and petition pray at all times [appointed time or season] in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,


“in the Holy Spirit” refers to us coming to God in an obedient, spiritual, humble, and fearful manner.


Prayer is for the purpose of communicating with God one-on-one, to know Him deeper, and to intercede for others.


There are definitely more reasons for prayer, but we don’t need a one-stop definition. I want to make the point at the start that prayer is more than God hearing you. As He is omniscient, nothing about us or in us, not one thought or desire, is unknown to Him, i.e., He does hear all.


Prayer is awake and alert:


“be on the alert” – watching while keeping awake and vigilant as well as being alert to intercession for the needs of the saints.


We saw last time that in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus bid Peter, James, and John to remain awake (watching, alert) and pray. Jesus prayed the same prayer three times while He found the three disciples sleeping three times. Jesus faced the enemy head on while the disciples fled. It is not just prayer that made the difference, but everything else that goes along with an effective prayer life – living the eternal life of Christ day by day in time.


Effective prayer is by the one clad in God’s armor, seeking the Father that loves him/her with fear and obedience and love.


It’s not just words. Effective prayer comes from the one who knows and loves God, trusts in God, worships God, and is thankful to God.


Again, this is not to restrict prayer or to make us fear it as something only fit for the greatest saints, but to look at it at its apex in a believer’s life. What we know as children, we speak as children and our parents listen. The same can be said of prayer, but God will not be satisfied with anything other than adult speaking and understanding after sufficient time for growth and understanding are given. As we grow spiritually, we speak more and more to the Father as adult children to understand His revealed mind.


Paul tells us to pray at all appointed times. We’re never told to wait for some level of knowledge of growth. We all know we are cleansed by the blood of Christ and so therefore we can approach God with all confidence and boldness. Prayer is not effective because of how long we pray or how many words we use or what kind of words we use. When we don’t know how to put our requests into words then the Holy Spirit intercedes (Rom 8:26). We might start will selfish requests or foolish ones, but we should keep praying knowing that nothing we say will be able to remove us from God’s presence. If we desire a more effective prayer life, meaning a more effective and rewarding life with our Father, then we will need to mature as any child.


We are to persist (“perseverance”) in prayer to the Father concerning ourselves and petitioning for others (including thankfulness).


Eph 6:18-20

With all prayer and petition pray at all times [appointed time or season] in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, 19 and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.


The word petition is resumed at the end of verse 18, in order to enlist the prayers of the readers for the service of the church at large. Jesus does this in His wonderful prayer to the church in Joh 17. Paul does it as well.


Alertness with perseverance is not just being awake, but also being daily alert to the right sort of petitions for others.


We will see that many times Paul asks for prayer for his deliverance and his ministry. Here he asks for prayer that he might know what to say when he appears before the authorities and especially before the tribunal of the emperor, as well as that he may boldly preach the gospel from this condition (in chains) which was new for him. It is clear that Paul understands that the prayers of the saints will make a difference, and as strong a man as he is, he seeks prayer for his work. It would not do for those who received this letter from him to forget to pray for him the day after they read it.


Perseverance – proskarteresis (only in Eph 6:18) – persistence, adherence. The verb is most often tied to prayer.


Who in your life needs prayer or who should you be praying for? Close or barely known or unknown, the Bible shows prayer for all of them. To do so consistently, is also being alert in prayer.


Perseverance is referenced in the NT as persistence in loyalty and in paying attention to things of importance. Consistency in the spiritual life was seen as perseverance, especially in prayer.


Rom 12:10-13

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; 11 not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted [proskartereo] to prayer, 13 contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.


This lovely passage shows us the persistence of lifestyle that is demanded of the believer, all of whom are the new self, which has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth (Eph 4:24).


All who have been attempting to have powerful prayer lives should understand why Paul would entreat us to be persistent in prayer. It takes perseverance to take the time to pray. It is vital to do so, for without knowing the power of prayer through consistency, we will not come to love and desire our alone time with God the Father in the Spirit and in the name of the Son.


Prayer is like truth, righteousness, witnessing, fighting the good fight, resisting, etc. (practices of the armor) – we will full know by doing.


Paul uses the same word in the sister epistle to Ephesians.


Col 4:2

Devote [proskartereo – persist, persevere] yourselves to prayer


The apostles at the beginning of the church:


Act 6:4

“But we will devote ourselves to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.”


The use of this word for prayer echoes our Lord’s teaching of ask, seek, and knock; which was His way of emphasizing perseverance rather than giving three different ways of discovery. In Luk 11, His teaching on ask, seek, and knock comes directly after He teaches the disciples how to pray.


Luk 11: 1-13


11:1 It happened that while Jesus was praying in a certain place, after He had finished, one of His disciples said to Him, "Lord, teach us to pray just as John also taught his disciples."    11:2 And He said to them, "When you pray, say: 'Father, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come.    11:3 'Give us each day our daily bread.    11:4 'And forgive us our sins, For we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.' "    11:5 Then He said to them, "Suppose one of you has a friend, and goes to him at midnight and says to him, 'Friend, lend me three loaves;    11:6 for a friend of mine has come to me from a journey, and I have nothing to set before him';    11:7 and from inside he answers and says, 'Do not bother me; the door has already been shut and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.'    11:8 "I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs.    11:9 "So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.    11:10 "For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened.    11:11 "Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he?    11:12 "Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he?    11:13 "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?" 


Luk 18:1-8

Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart, 2 saying, "There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God, and did not respect man. 3 "And there was a widow in that city, and she kept coming to him, saying, 'Give me legal protection from my opponent.' 4 "And for a while he was unwilling; but afterward he said to himself, 'Even though I do not fear God nor respect man, 5 yet because this widow bothers me, I will give her legal protection, lest by continually coming she wear me out.' " 6 And the Lord said, "Hear what the unrighteous judge said; 7 now shall not God bring about justice for His elect, who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? 8 "I tell you that He will bring about justice for them speedily. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?"



Nag God the Father?


Pro 27:15

A constant dripping on a day of steady rain

And a contentious woman are alike;

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