Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; Ephesians 6:18 KJV
This verse is the capstone to the paragraph on spiritual armor. (See Eph. 6:10-17) Praying ties all the pieces together. It could be argued that, without prayer, the pieces of armor are of little use.
We are to always pray. There is never a time or circumstance that we should not be praying. (Praying is not always out loud! See comments on 1 Thess. 5:17 further down.) To always pray is a command. It is not optional.
We are to pray with all prayer. Some commentary writers and other Bible versions say, all kinds of prayer. All kinds, that is, “in public, in the family, in the closet, in business, on the way, in the heart without a voice, and with the voice from the heart”1, and using all the parts of prayer, “confession of sin, petition for mercy, and thanksgiving for favours received.”2
In The Spirit
We are to pray in the Spirit, that is, “with the heart, soul and spirit engaged in it…without hypocrisy, in a spiritual way, and with fervency, and under the influence, and by the assistance of the Spirit of God.”3
For All Saints
One specific object of our prayers should be for all the saints. Not just some of the saints. Not just for the lost. Not just for our own problems, our own families, our own churches, etc., but for all saints, “of every nation, age, sex, and condition, in all places, and of every denomination.”4
We can do nothing without prayer. All things can be done by importunate prayer. E. M. Bounds
Prayer principle reiterated (confirmed) in 1 Thessalonians
The principle to pray always is repeated (and therefore confirmed) in 1 Thessalonians 5:17.
Pray without ceasing. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 KJV
Explore with me what C. H. Spurgeon says about 1 Thessalonians 5:17.5 (my clarifying comments in brackets):
“…the use of the voice is not an essential element in prayer…it is clear that audible language is not essential to prayer.” [it is impossible for us to continue praying unceasingly in an audible way]
“We may speak a thousand words which seem to be prayer, and yet never pray; on the other hand, we may cry into God’s ear most effectually, and yet never say a word.” [silence is perfectly acceptable and sometimes preferable]
“…the posture of prayer is of no great importance…” [otherwise we would be stuck in one particular posture, such as on our knees, and it is impossible to live that way]
“…the place is not essential to prayer…” [otherwise certain places would be “holy” and we would have to stay in those places only in order to be unceasing in prayer and it would be impossible to live that way]
“…every second must be suitable for prayer…” [there cannot be only particular times that are more acceptable for prayer than other times]
“…the voice, the posture, the place, the time—none of them enter into the essence of prayer, or else, in this case, we should be commanded to perform an impossibility, which we are quite certain is not after the manner of the Lord our God.” [That is, there is no one particular sound, posture, place or time that makes what you are doing prayer. Instead prayer encompasses many possibilities for each of those variabilities.]
If the spiritual life be healthy, under the full power of the Holy Spirit, praying without ceasing will be natural. Andrew Murray
Books on Prayer for further study:
Check out my book review of Your 100 Day Prayer by John Snyder (click on the title link to be taken to my review).
Check out my book review of Pray-ers Bear Fruit by Kathy R. Green (click on the title link to be taken to my review).
Check out my book review of The Mercy Prayer by Robert Gelinas (click on the title link to be taken to my review).
Check out my book review of Perfect* by David Rex Gosnell (click on the title link to be taken to my review).
For further study on prayer check out the classic works by E. M. Bounds: The Complete Works of E. M. Bounds: Power Through Prayer, Prayer and Praying Men, The Essentials of Prayer, The Necessity of Prayer, The Possibilities … Purpose in Prayer, The Weapon of Prayer (click on the title link to be taken to the Amazon page)
Or the classic prayer book by Andrew Murray: With Christ in the School of Prayer (click on the title link to be taken to the Amazon page)
Some of my other blog posts on prayer:
Inspiration to Pray Part 1 If you like that one you can also check out parts 2-5
Join the conversation. Share your ideas or questions in the comment form below.
(c) 2014 Cheryl Cope
Cheryl Cope on Google+