Thursday 14th February
“Pray, it’s the only way”
Yesterday we learnt of the armour that a believer must wear, in order to protect themselves from the enemy’s schemes. He is a prowling lion seeking to devour whom he may. However, there is no need to fear. We have our victory in Christ. I picture the enemy like an ant and God a giant, stamping on him with His right foot. The enemy is no match for God’s greatness. Our response? To stand in the faith, guarded with truth, righteousness, and readiness in the power of God’s eternal words.
Yet Paul doesn’t finish this discourse with only practical imageries. He concludes with what is the most important weapon of all. Prayer. “PRAYING at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.” (verse 18). Why is prayer included as a form of defence against our adversary? Because when we are in prayer, the real victory is won. But there is a condition to this prayer. Paul says we must pray in the Spirit. Praying in the Spirit may not necessarily mean that we need to exercise our Spiritual gifting, but rather it is being in tune with God’s heart and praying into the things of His heart. Praying in the Spirit is drawing on God’s resources and allowing Him to fill you, strengthen you and increase your faith. This stands as a reminder that we are not in physical warfare but in Spiritual warfare.
Interestingly, I find that my closet time with God in prayer is not when I am praying for myself but when I am interceding for others. Paul says that we too must stay alert with perseverance in making supplication for the saints. Staying alert is like the Roman Soldiers readiness to go into battle. We must always be praying for our brothers and sisters remembering that we are not fighting against flesh but that it is a Spiritual battle. Prayer is the most important way to draw on God’s strength both for ourselves and for others. The prayer of intercession, is not only standing in the gap for someone else, but it also increases our faith and strength in Christ.
Paul knew that without prayer He would not be able to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with others. He needed God. He needed the saint’s prayers. Remember the story of Peter and John, when in front of the Sanhedrin. When they prayed and where filled with the Spirit, they had boldness to share about Christ’s healing work in a crippled man. Paul here is also saying that without the Spirit, He would not have the boldness to share the Gospel. He was drawing on God’s strength and on His resource.
Notice again, in verse 20, Paul’s heart to serve. He says that he is Christ’s ambassador or representative in chains. Notice his prayer request. Is it to be free from chains or struggles? No!! Instead he realises that there are lost souls that need to hear the truth of Christ, even in prison. He asks for prayer to speak boldly at the right time. Why? Because he knew that only by God’s Spirit and timing was he able to share Christ with others.
Draw on Christ’s strength this day, knowing that it is only by His power and might that we can Stand against the enemy. Prayer is our strongest weapon and is the most essential discipline the believer’s life. Pray for yourself but also pray for others. And most importantly Pray in the Spirit.