Ephesians 6:18
Pray in the Spirit at all times, with every kind of prayer and petition. To this end, stay alert with all perseverance in your prayers for all the saints.
Sermons
The Duty of PrayerT. Croskery Ephesians 6:18
Panoply of God. Conclusion of EpistleR. Finlayson Ephesians 6:10-20
Soul-MilitancyD. Thomas Ephesians 6:10-20
The Christian PanoplyR.M. Edgar Ephesians 6:10-24
A Share in Others' Moral Victories Through PrayerR. W. Dale, LL. D.Ephesians 6:18-20
Christian WatchfulnessBishop Ryle.Ephesians 6:18-20
IntercessionJ. H. Newman, D. D.Ephesians 6:18-20
Pastor and PeopleW. S. Palmer.Ephesians 6:18-20
PrayerJ. Lathrop, D. D.Ephesians 6:18-20
Prayer Acts Upon GodR. W. Dale, LL. D.Ephesians 6:18-20
Prayer and PanoplyMarvin R. Vincent, D. D.Ephesians 6:18-20
Prayer for OthersR. W. Dale, LL. D.Ephesians 6:18-20
Praying AlwaysH. Melvill, B. D.Ephesians 6:18-20
Praying AlwaysD. Moore, M. A.Ephesians 6:18-20
Subjects of IntercessionFamily ChurchmanEphesians 6:18-20
The Necessity of PrayerJ. Leyburn, D. D.Ephesians 6:18-20
The Power of PrayerR. W. Dale, LL. D.Ephesians 6:18-20
The Triumphs of the Praying LifeH. J. Wilmot-Buxton, M. A.Ephesians 6:18-20
True PrayerW.F. Adeney Ephesians 6:18-20
Watching unto PrayerJohn Bate.Ephesians 6:18-20
We are not to regard prayer as a seventh weapon, but rather as exhibiting the spirit in which the Divine armor is to be assumed and the warfare carried on. It is easy to see the intimate relation existing, between prayer and each individual part of the Christian's armor.

1. It is to be prayer of all kinds - public and private, oral and mental, formal and ejaculatory.

2. It is to be spiritual prayer: "In the Spirit;" for" He makes intercession for the saints with groanings which cannot be uttered" (Romans 8:26). We must "pray in the Holy Ghost" (Jude 1:20).

3. It is to be persevering prayer: "At all times; at every suitable season. We must cultivate an habitual frame of prayer.

4. It is to be watchful prayer: "Watching thereunto." We must watch against watchlessness, watch for occasions of prayer, watch for answers to prayer.

5. It is to be intercessory prayer: "For all saints." It is most comprehensive in its character. It is based on the communion of saints. We have every heavenly motive for continuing in prayer. We have no ground to expect blessing without it (Ezekiel 36:37). It is a means of getting all blessings, temporal, and spiritual (Matthew 7:7; Matthew 21:22; James 1:5). It is in itself the most heavenly duty we can perform (Philippians 3:20). - T.C.







Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit. -
I. THE VARIETY OF PRAYER. All prayer is the same in essence, but it takes on different modes, just as your intercourse with a friend does. It is not all asking. Sometimes it is only interchange, without any petition at all - talking to God for the pleasure of communion; sometimes a sharp, short cry for help, like Peter's "Lord, save me!" when he felt himself sinking; sometimes merely the aspiration of the heart to God without a word; sometimes a half-conscious sympathy of thought with God; sometimes a formal, public petition; sometimes a struggle to climb over self to God. We are to pray with every prayer, with all kinds of prayer. He is not always the most prayerful man who prays most regularly or most formally, or most publicly. Sometimes more prayer is condensed into a sentence than is to be found in a whole series of prayer meetings. I never can read without emotion the story of the good old German professor, who sat studying until far into the night, and then, pushing his books wearily aside, was heard by the occupant of the next room to say, ere he lay down to rest, "Lord Jesus, we are upon the same old terms."

II. THE SEASONABLENESS OF PRAYER. "Praying in every season"; this includes the habitual contact of the life with God everywhere. Life is full of occasions and suggestions of contact with God, and the Christian is to avail himself of them. You want God everywhere; you want His counsel in everything; your joy is incomplete, yea, empty, without His sanction and sympathy; your sorrow is unbearable without His comfort; your business lacks its one great element of success if God is left out of it; you will as surely fall under temptation as you are human, if God does not help you. Pray, therefore, with every kind of prayer, at every season.

III. THE ELEMENT AND ATMOSPHERE OF PRAYER - ''In the Spirit." What we are, comes very largely out of our surroundings; just as a taper gets much of the material for combustion out of the atmosphere. A light goes out in a vacuum. A swan cannot do his best in the air, nor an eagle in the water. So the power of prayer depends largely on the element in which it works. The only effective prayer is "in the Spirit," i.e., under the impulse and direction of the Spirit of God (Romans 8:26). Otherwise, prayer is only an evidence of infirmity, like the dim burning of a candle in foul air.

1. The Spirit creates a prayerful heart (Romans 8:16). We never can truly pray at all until we can pray "Our Father!"

2. The Spirit suggests the substance of our prayers.

3. The Spirit reveals the love and helpfulness of God, and so encourages us to present our many and deep needs to Him.

4. The Spirit communicates Divine love to our hearts, and this love communicates warmth and enthusiasm to prayers.

5. The Spirit so identifies Himself with our case that He makes intercession for us. In other words, God's own heart pleads for us; and our mightiest plea is there.

IV. ALERTNESS IN PRAYER. "Being awake thereunto."

1. Keep watch over prayer. Cut that great main which leads the water from the reservoir into yonder city, and how long wilt it be ere the city is in distress? Prayer is the medium of communion with God, and without that communion there is no Christian living. No life without God, and no contact with God without prayer; so that, if Satan can cut that main, the life is in his power; and the danger is linked with the treasure, as always. Hence prayer is a thing to be watched - watched as a habit to be encouraged by practice, as a pleasure with which the Christian is to grow into a sweet familiarity by frequent communings with Him in whose presence is fulness of joy; as a duty which he neglects at the peril of his spiritual life.

2. And we must watch after prayer, to see what becomes of our prayers. He would be a strange archer who did not look to see where his arrow struck, a strange merchant who did not care whether his richly freighted ship arrived at her port or not.

3. This watching must be persistent. The conflict with temptation is lifelong; the necessity for prayer never ceases; there is always, therefore, need to watch.

V. THE OBJECTS OF PRAYER. Prayer must not be selfish. It is the language of the kingdom of God; and the kingdom of God is a community, a brotherhood. Prayer is the expression of the life of God's kingdom, and that life is social.

(Marvin R. Vincent, D. D.)

I. THE DUTY OF THE PEOPLE.

1. Constant prayer.

(1)Private.

(2)Family.

(3)Public.

2. Habitual watchfulness.

(1)Spirit.

(2)Language.

(3)Actions.

3. Steady perseverance. This is opposed to -

(1)Indecision.

(2). Lukewarmness.

(3)Despondency.

4. Christian affection.

(1)Sincere.

(2)Ardent.

(3)Comprehensive.

II. THE OFFICE OF THE PASTOR - "An ambassador": one who has received a commission, and has a delegated authority. As a minister my duty is -

1. To instruct you with plainness.

2. To entreat you affectionately.

(1)By exhibiting Christ in all the loveliness of His character.

(2)By the exhibition of His work in all its suitableness and sufficiency.

(3)By dwelling on the work of the Holy Spirit, the energy by which the soul is renewed and sanctified, and made ripe for felicity.

(4)By making known the boundless love of God.

3. To warn you with faithfulness.

(1)Against erroneous doctrines.

(2)Against wicked practices.

(3)Of imminent danger.

4. To watch over you with care.

III. The text also affords me an opportunity to SOLICIT YOUR PRAYERS.

1. Pray that I may preach fluently.

2. Pray that I may preach with boldness.

3. Pray that I may preach correctly.

4. Pray that I may preach successfully.Concluding observations: From what has been said we cannot but observe -

1. The connection which subsists between a successful ministry and a praying people.

2. The importance of exemplifying all the graces of the Holy Spirit. Here is prayer, watchfulness, perseverance, comprehensive love; all these are required, and how important are they all.

(W. S. Palmer.)

Family Churchman.
I. PROPER SUBJECTS OF PRAYER.

1. Our own personal needs.

2. The needs of all our brethren in Christ - "for all saints."

3. The needs of ambassadors of Christ - "for me."

II. PROPER METHOD OF PRAYER.

1. Variety in the method - "all prayer," public and private, secret and social, with confession, petition, and thanksgiving.

2. Frequency - "at all seasons" (R.V.).

3. Seeking the help. of God's Spirit - "in the Spirit" (Romans 8:15, 26).

4. Watchfulness, lest weariness overtake us.

5. Perseverance (Luke 18:1).

(Family Churchman.)

1. First, let us turn to the express injunctions of Scripture. For instance, the text itself: "Praying in every season with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and abstaining from sleep for the purpose, with all perseverance and supplication for all saints." Observe the earnestness of the intercession here inculcated; "in every season, with all supplication," and "to the loss of sleep" (see also Colossians 4:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:25; 1 Timothy 2:1, 2, 8; 2 Thessalonians 3:1; 1 Corinthians 14:3). Next consider St. Paul's own example, which is quite in accordance with his exhortations (Ephesians 1:16, 17; Philippians 1:3, 4; Colossians 1:3; 1 Thessalonians 1:2). The instances of prayer, recorded in the book of Acts, are of the same kind, being almost entirely of an intercessory nature, as offered at ordinations, confirmations, cures, missions, and the like (Acts 13:2, 3; Acts 9:4).

2. Such is the lesson taught us by the words and deeds of the apostles and their brethren. Nor could it be otherwise, if Christianity be a social religion, as it is preeminently. If Christians are to live together, they will pray together; and united prayer is necessarily of an intercessory character, as being offered for each other and for the whole, and for self as one of the whole.

3. But the instance of St. Paul opens upon us a second reason for this distinction. Intercession is the especial observance of the Christian, because he alone is in a condition to offer it. It is the function of the justified and obedient, of the sons of God, "who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit"; not of the carnal and unregenerate. "God heareth not sinners"; nature tells us this; but none but God Himself could tell us that He will hear and answer those who are not sinners; for "when we have done all, we are unprofitable servants, and can claim no reward for our services." But He has graciously promised us this mercy, in Scripture, as the following texts will show: James 5:16; 1 John 3:22; John 15:7-15.

4. The history of God's dealings with Abraham will afford us an additional lesson, which must be ever borne in mind in speaking of the privilege of the saints on earth as intercessors between God and man (see also Exodus 20:12; Jeremiah 35:18, 19; Daniel 10:2-14; Mark 9:29).

5. Why should we be unwilling to admit what is is so great a consolation to know? Why should we refuse to credit the transforming power and efficacy of our Lord's sacrifice? Surely He did not die for any common end, but in order to exalt man, who was of the dust of the field, into "heavenly places." He died to bestow upon him that privilege which implies or involves all others, and brings him into nearest resemblance to Himself, the privilege of intercession. This, I say, is the Christian's especial prerogative; and if he does not exercise it, certainly he has not risen to the conception of his real place among created beings. He is made after the pattern and in the fulness of Christ - he is what Christ is. Christ intercedes above, and he intercedes below. Why should he linger in the doorway, praying for pardon, who has been allowed to share in the grace of the Lord's passion, to die with Him and rise again? He is already in a capacity for higher things. His prayer thenceforth takes a higher range, and contemplates not himself merely, but others also. To conclude. If anyone asks, "How am I to know whether I am advanced enough in holiness to intercede?" he has plainly mistaken the doctrine under consideration. The privilege of intercession is a trust committed to all Christians who have a clear conscience and are in full communion with the Church. We leave secret things to God - what each man's real advancement is in holy things, and what his real power in the unseen world. Two things alone concern us, to exercise our gift and make ourselves more and more worthy of it.

(J. H. Newman, D. D.)

1. The apostle here supposes our obligation to prayer to be so plain, that every rational mind will see it, and so important, that every pious heart will feel it. Therefore, instead of adducing arguments to prove the duty, he rather points out the manner in which it should be performed.

2. Prayer is of several kinds: social and secret, public and domestic, stated and occasional; and it consists of several parts: confession, supplication, intercession, thanksgiving.

3. The apostle next instructs us concerning the manner in which our prayers should be offered.(1) The first thing necessary in prayer is faith, or a believing view of God's providential government, and of the wisdom and goodness with which it is administered.(2) Our desires must be good and reasonable.(3) Attention of mind, collection of thought, and warmth of affection, are qualifications required in prayer.(4) That our prayers may be acceptable to God, they must be accompanied with justice to men.(5) Charity is an essential qualification in prayer.(6) We must bring before the throne of God a meek and peaceable spirit.(7) Our prayers must be accompanied with a sense of, and sorrow for, sin.(8) We must persevere in prayer.

4. The apostle here teaches us the duty of intercession for others. The goodness of God is the foundation of prayer. If God is good to others, as well as to us, there is the same ground on which to offer our social intercessions, as our personal petitions.

(J. Lathrop, D. D.)

(J. Leyburn, D. D.)

(H. Melvill, B. D.)

1. Then, pray faithfully, believing that God can and will answer you, though not, perhaps, just as you expect. Many prayers are wasted because they are without faith; those who utter them are just trying an experiment to see whether God will hear and answer or not.

2. Next, pray persistently; don't be disheartened because God does not answer at once.

3. Next, pray submissively, striving to give up your will to God's will.

4. Next, pray simply. Some people pick out the longest and hardest words when they speak to God.

(H. J. Wilmot-Buxton, M. A.)

(R. W. Dale, LL. D.)

(Bishop Ryle.)

(John Bate.)

I. Let us, first, consider WHAT IS MEANT BY THIS EXPRESSION, "PRAYING ALWAYS." How can the Christian be always in prayer?

1. Well, first, the expression means, that there should be a holy regularity in our habits of prayer.

2. Again, by "praying always" is meant, that you should pray in every condition and circumstance of life; that is, in sickness you should pray for patience, and in health you should pray for a thankful heart; in prosperity you should pray that you should not forget God, and in adversity you should pray that God may not forget you. It is not enough to seek God in times of our tribulation only, we must seek Him in times of our wealth.

3. Further: by "praying always," no doubt, is meant, that we should make everything a matter of prayer.

4. Once more. By "praying always," the apostle means, that prayer should be the pervading habit of the Christian's life - that it should be as a leaven fermenting the whole substance of our moral being; a sentinel continually keeping watch over our unguarded moments; a sanctified enclosure fencing us round by the protection and presence of God. Prayer, like Him to whom it is addressed, knows nothing of our finite magnitude and relations. They are all lost sight of in their relation to the Infinite and the Eternal - to their bearing on our preparation for a state of everlasting existence.

II. But let us consider, secondly, THE COMPREHENSIVE FORM OF THE PRECEPT WHICH IS HERE GIVEN - "With all prayer and supplication." The two words here chosen by the apostle are, without doubt, sometimes used interchangeably in Scripture. But there is an etymological difference between them, suggesting that we consider prayer as having reference to petitions for some good to be desired, whilst supplication be referred to petitions for evils to be avoided. Acting upon this definition, we are first taught to "pray with all prayer" - that is, with prayer for all good things. And this rule should be extended even to those blessings which at first sight we might think it lawful to ask of God without limitation and without reserve - I mean those which relate to our spiritual happiness. "With all prayer and supplication" - that is, as we have supposed, with all deprecation of evil - with prayer, that things really hurtful to us may be kept away. But here, as in the other case, God alone must be the judge of what the evil is.

III. But note, in the last place, THE INTERNAL ASSISTANCE WE ARE TAUGHT TO LOOK FOR IN THE PERFORMANCE OF THIS DUTY - "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit." The expression is obviously the same as that which we have in the Epistle of Jude - "Praying in the Holy Ghost"; and it refers to the promised assistance of that Divine Agent when "we know not what to pray for as we ought." Praying in the Spirit, therefore, is to pray in that spirit of grace and supplication which the Holy Ghost alone can bestow - to pray in that "spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father!" And further, by praying in the Spirit is meant, that we should pray in a right mind - that we should pray fervently - that we should pray with a consciousness that there is an assisting Power to help us. For the Spirit of God not only originates holy desires, but it actuates, it maintains, it cherishes, it keeps alive all praying influences in the heart. Such, brethren, is the great duty with which the apostle shuts up his description of our spiritual warfare. He does not, indeed, make prayer a part of the spiritual equipment, because it is the life, and strength, and safeguard of the whole. You must gird on your sword, and pray; you must bind on your sandals, and pray; you must buckle on your breastplate, and pray. In all things there must be a simultaneous outgoing of that which is to give effect to all the weapons you employ in your spiritual encounter. No prayer, no victory.

(D. Moore, M. A.)

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