It has been wonderful seeing so many of you in the community and last week at the National Day of Prayer observance. Thank you for your kind words and encouragement regarding this column and its effects in your lives. I am humbled and grateful for the ability to share this ministry with so many through the Vedette and its readers. If you have enjoyed an article but forgot to save your copy of the paper, you can find each of these articles online at revmkg.wordpress.com. Please feel free to share them with others who may find them helpful.
The last three articles detailed the components of the full armor of God, according to Ephesians 6:10-17. These pieces are all to be used to strengthen, protect, and support us in our battle with evil in this world. However, the author of Ephesians goes on to present one final part of this battle ensemble, not a piece of armor, but an assignment, a challenge and activity in which we are to participate—Prayer.
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people” (6:18).
He first tells us to pray “in the Spirit.” This passage refers praying in the power of the Spirit of God. Henry Neufeld states in his study of this passage: “Praying in the Spirit is, I believe, being so in touch with God that you are praying what God puts in your heart to pray. That’s why I say that prayer is not about getting things from God; it’s about aligning yourself with God’s will” (www.deepbiblestudy.net). He goes on to say, “Praying always in the Spirit, I believe, is simply letting God lead in our prayers at all times.”
If Neufeld is correct, when we are praying in the Spirit we are finding God’s purposes in our lives and allowing those purposes to impact and bless the lives of others. If my prayers are not seeking God’s will, am I not just mimicking a spoiled child, asking for everything I want no matter the consequence? Prayer in the Spirit is prayer that is empowered and led by God’s Spirit, as we pray in the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” See Romans 8:26-27.
Several years ago now, a woman in a nursing home shared the following story with me. Her husband was a traveling prison chaplain. One day she was at home ironing when a deep burden fell on her. Without understanding, she fell to her knees in prayer, believing that someone, somewhere was in need of God’s grace and mercy. She prayed until the burden passed and then returned to her housework.
Later that week, her husband returned home and related a harrowing experience. He had been driving along when his car stalled. Unfortunately, it had stalled on railroad tracks. Try as he might, he could not get the car to reenergize. Several minutes later, however, the car just did start, just minutes before the regular freight train passed through the town. When they compared notes, it was the same time she had been burdened to pray.
The author continues by telling us to pray on all occasions. While not insisting that every word out of our mouths should be a prayer, we are commanded here to be, as Romans 12:12 says, “faithful in prayer” (or as the KJV says, “continuing instant in prayer”). On what occasions have you prayed recently? We are to pray when someone needs help, when someone is ill, when someone is being a bully, when someone is in need, when someone has received deliverance or is in need of the same, in other words, at all times.
Finally, we are instructed to pray “all kinds of prayers and requests.” Is there a hierarchy of prayer? Are some prayers more important than others? Perhaps in some regard, but to the individual needing prayer, whether a student praying for wisdom and assistance in a class or a parent praying for the healing of his or her child, every prayer is important. God cares about every aspect of our lives and those of others around us; therefore, we are to “be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”
The author continues, saying, “Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should” (vv. 19, 20). I think that every pastor area would echo this request. Would you pray for us, all those who have been called to proclaim God’s Word, that we might be faithful in speaking God’s Word?
May God richly bless you,
Mary Kay Glunt
Ebenezer Presbyterian Church
P.O. Box 393, Greenfield, MO 65661