Ephesians 6_18-24      Prayer as the Final Armor

Rev. David Holwick  H

First Baptist Church

Ledgewood, New Jersey

February 23, 1992

Ephesians 6:18-24


PRAYER AND SPIRITUAL WARFARE



  I. The popularity of prayer.

      A. Most Americans pray.

          1) Cover of recent Newsweek on "Prayer."

              a) Even some atheists admit they pray.

              b) Most people think their prayers are answered.

          2) Prayer is important, not generic "religiosity."

              a) How should we pray?

              b) What should we pray for?


      B. Not an unnamed weapon, but pervades all of spiritual warfare.

          1) God's armor is an expression of our dependence on God.

          2) Dependence on God is what prayer is all about.


      C. Prayer is in "the Spirit," prompted and guided by him.

          1) In the same way, God's Word is the "sword of the Spirit."

          2) Prayer can be purely human.

              a) "Grace" around dinner table can approach this.

                   (Snickering and peeking)

              b) Even in church, prayer is something to get done with.

          3) Truly spiritual prayer has great power.


II. How we should pray.                                        Eph 6:18

      A. Most Christians pray sometimes, with some prayers and

            some degree of perseverance, for some of God's people.


      B. Christian prayer should be comprehensive.  (four "alls")

          1) On all occasions.

              a) Regularly and constantly.

              b) Not necessarily 18 hours a day, but at regular intervals.


          2) With all kinds of prayer and requests.

              a) "Gimme" prayers are Biblical, but not whole story.

              b) Give praise, give thanks, seek guidance.


          3) With all perseverance - always keep on praying.

              a) We need to "keep alert" like good soldiers and not give

                   up or fall asleep.

                  1> In movie "Platoon" the army unit sets up a nighttime

                        ambush, but all fall asleep waiting for enemy.

                  2> Same thing happened at Gethsemane.

                  3> Do you ever feel too tired to pray?

              b) Prayer does not have time limits.

                  1> Not true that it shows lack of faith to pray more

                       than once.

                  2> Paul prayed for thorn to be removed three times.


          4) Making supplication for all the saints.

              a) The unity of God's new society must be reflected in our

                    prayers.

              b) Saints are real Christians, not necessarily super ones.

                  1> We need to form a bond with other believers.

                      A> Do other Christians bother, discourage you?

                      B> Pray for them!

                  2> We are in this struggle together.

                      A> Loners don't stand a chance.


III. Prayer for Christians.                            Eph 6:18b-19

      A. Jesus never prayed directly for a lost soul.

          1) Neither Jesus nor Paul commands us to do so.


      B. In some places, prayer for unsaved may be inferred indirectly.

          1) Prayer for persecutors.             Matthew 5:44

          2) Prayer for (pagan) leaders.         1 Timothy 2:1-4

          3) Prayer for Jewish nation.           Romans 10:1

              a) But for nation, not individuals.


      C. Christ tells us to pray for harvesters, not harvest.  Matt 9:38

          1) Paul doesn't ask for prayer for pagan guards.   6:19


IV. Prayer for Harvesters.                                      Eph 6:19

      A. Pray for me, Paul.

          1) Self-centered?

          2) He is wise enough to know his own need, humble enough to

                ask for help.


      B. Paul requests prayer for an open door.       Acts 16:6-10, Rev 3:7

          1) He doesn't ask for deliverance from prison.

          2) God opens the doors of evangelistic opportunity.

              a) Even in prison Paul found opportunities to witness.

              b) Onesimus the slave saved by him.      Acts 28:17,23-24


      C. Paul desired courage to witness.

          1) Twice he requests fearlessness.           6:19-20

          2) Praying church is a courageous church.    Acts 4:24-31  (4:29)

          3) This courage is needed by all, and available to all.

      D. Paul desired a message.                                   6:19

          1) He wanted it given to him by God.

              a) The gospel is a "mystery," a truth withheld by God in the

                   past and then revealed to humanity at a certain point.

              b) Divine assistance is needed to proclaim and comprehend it.

          2) Prayer achieves this result.

              a) God chooses to move in response to prayer.

              b) For God to act, we must ask.      John 14:13


  V. Real evangelism begins not by talking to people about God, but by

        talking to God about people.

      A. Pray that Christians will come in path of your unsaved loved ones.


      B. Real revivals begin with Christians, not pagans.


      C. When Christians are built up, evangelism takes place.


         David Howard was a missionary in Columbia while his brother

            Phil served among Slavey Indians in Canada.

         Columbia flourished while Phil went 14 years without a convert.

         The Indians in Columbia prayed for Phil and his work, and that

            night he felt a release from discouragement.

         Shortly after Slavey Indians began accepting the Lord.       #555


VI. Fitting conclusion.                           6:21-24

      A. Paul's encouragement.         6:22

          1) Lack of personal notes at end of letter will probably be

               filled in by Tychicus.

          2) Paul wants to forge stronger personal links between himself

               and these Christians.

          3) Prayer, correspondence and visits are three major means by

               which Christians and churches can enrich one another and

                 build up the body of Christ.


      B. Paul's wish.                  6:23-24

          1) Customary to end letters with a wish for health or happiness.

          2) Paul Christianizes it with a half wish, half prayer.

              a) Peace to the brethren, and love with faith.

                  1> Peace is characteristic of Ephesians.

                  2> Peace is reconciliation and love is its source and

                       outflow.

                  3> With faith - they already have faith, now they need

                       to add love to it.

              b) Grace to all who love Lord Jesus with undying love.

                  1> "Undying" is literally "in incorruption."

                  2> May refer to Christians' undying love for Christ.

                  3> Or may refer to God's immortal grace for Christians.

          3) Grace and peace stand out as Paul's final thoughts.

              a) Peace in the sense of reconciliation with God and one

                   another is the great achievement of Jesus Christ.

              b) Grace is the reason why and the means by which God did it.



===========================================

John Stott, "God's New Society" (Ephesians)

===========================================


  I. Prayer and spiritual warfare.

      A. Not an unnamed weapon, but pervades all of spiritual warfare.


      B. God's armor is an expression of our dependence on God, in other

            words of prayer.

          1) Prayer is in "the Spirit," prompted and guided by him.

          2) In the same way, God's Word is the "sword of the Spirit."


II. Christian prayer.

      A. Most Christians pray sometimes, with some prayers and some degree

            of perseverance, for some of God's people.


      B. Christian prayer should be comprehensive.  (four "alls")

          1) At all times.

              a) Regularly and constantly.

          2) With all prayer and supplication.

              a) It takes many and varied forms.

          3) With all perseverance.

              a) We need to "keep alert" like good soldiers and not give

                   up or fall asleep.

              b) Goes back to teaching of Jesus himself.

                  1> Jesus emphasized watchfulness.

                  2> Be aware of devil and second coming.

                  3> Failure in this led to disciples' failure, and does

                       so today.

          4) Making supplication for all the saints.

              a) The unity of God's new society must be reflected in our

                    prayers.


      C. Pray for me, Paul.              6:19

          1) Wise enough to know his own need, humble enough to ask for

                help.

          2) God's strength needed for evangelistic ministry.

              a) Evangelism is part of the risen Jesus' commission.

              b) It is spiritual warfare, since it turns people "from darkness

                   to light, and from the power of Satan to God."  Acts 26:18

              c) Even as a prisoner in chains, Paul was witnessing.

                  1> Onesimus the slave saved by him.   Also Acts 28:17,23-24

          3) Freedom to preach the gospel.

              a) "With all parresia".  Openly, boldly.

              b) Utterance.

                  1> Seems to refer to the clarity of his communication.

                  2> Style of message.

                  3> Content is useless without effective delivery.

              c) Boldly.

                  1> Refers to Paul's courage in preaching.

                  2> Content of message.

                  3> Effective delivery is useless without content.

              d) Both of above must be given by God.

          4) Ambassador in chains.

              a) Paul was a prisoner on behalf of the Gentiles (3:1),

                   the Lord (4:1), and now the gospel (6:20).

              b) "Chain" may have double meaning of rich adornment.


III. Conclusion.         6:21-24

      A. May be in Paul's own hand.

          1) Tychicus may be secretary.

          2) Paul has complete confidence in him.


      B. Encouragement.         6:22

          1) Lack of personal notes at end of letter will probably be

               filled in by Tychicus.

          2) Paul wants to forge stronger personal links between himself

               and these Christians.

          3) Prayer, correspondence and visits are three major means by

               which Christians and churches can enrich one another and

                 build up the body of Christ.


      C. Wish.

          1) Customary to end letters with a wish for health or happiness.

          2) Paul Christianizes it with a half wish, half prayer.

              a) Peace to the brethren, and love with faith.

                  1> Peace is characteristic of Ephesians.

                  2> Peace is reconciliation and love is its source and

                       outflow.

                  3> With faith - they already have faith, now they need

                       to add love to it.

              b) Grace to all who love Lord Jesus with undying love.

                  1> "Undying" is literally "in incorruption."

                  2> May refer to Christians' undying love for Christ.

                  3> Or may refer to God's immortal grace for Christians.

          3) Grace and peace stand out as Paul's final thoughts.

              a) Peace in the sense of reconciliation with God and one

                   another is the great achievement of Jesus Christ.

              b) Grace is the reason why and the means by which God did it.



CT  5/14/90, p 28  "Don't Pray for the Unsaved!"   Dr. Curtis Mitchell

==================================================================


  I. Prayer for evangelism is misapplied.

      A. Jesus never prayed directly for a lost soul.

          1) Neither Jesus nor Paul commands us to do so.


      B. In some places, prayer for unsaved may be inferred indirectly.

          1) Prayer for persecutors.        Matt 5:44

          2) Prayer for (pagan) leaders.    1 Tim 2:1-4

          3) Prayer for Jewish nation.      Rom 10:1

              a) But for nation, not individuals.


      C. Christ tells us to pray for harvesters, not harvest.   Matt 9:38

          1) Paul doesn't ask for prayer for pagan guards, but himself.  Eph 6:19


II. What Ephesians 6:19 reveals.

      A. Paul requests prayer for an open door.

          1) He doesn't ask for deliverance from prison.

          2) God opens doors of opportunity.     Rev. 3:7

              a) Prayer is instrumental in this.


      B. Paul desired courage to witness.

          1) Twice he requests boldness.   (Eph 6:19-20)

              a) (So did Peter and John in Acts 4:29)

          2) Root idea of word for "bold" is of open or free speech.


      C. Paul desired a message.

          1) He wanted it given to him by God.

              a) The gospel is a "mystery."

                  1> Mystery is a truth withheld by God and then revealed to

                       humanity at a given point in history.

              b) Divine assistance is needed to proclaim and comprehend it.

          2) Prayer achieves this result.

              a) God chooses to move in response to prayer.

              b) For God to do, we must ask.      John 14:13

          3) Real evangelism begins not by talking to men about God, but

               by talking to God about men.

              a) Pray that Christians will come in path of your unsaved

                   loved one.

              b) Real revivals begin with Christians, not pagans.

              c) When Christians are built up, evangelism takes place.



Copyright 2017 by Rev. David Holwick

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