We can learn a lot about prayer in Ephesians 6:18. We can learn when to pray, how to pray, and the spirit in which we need to be in when we pray.
Ephesians 6:18 “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;”
First thing Paul says is to pray always. The word always reminded me of the small verse in I Thessalonians.
I Thessalonians 5:17 “Pray without ceasing.”
That verse in I Thessalonians means to be in a constant mode of prayer. The verse in Ephesians 6 means something slightly different. The word always as it is used in Ephesians 6:18 is the Greek word en, which is normally translated to English as the word in. I was curious as to why the translators used the word always. I discovered by looking at the Jamieson-Fausset-Brown commentary that this word is translated as “in all seasons” or every chance you get. It has the same connotation as the verse in I Thessalonians — be in a prayerful mood. Live your life as though you are walking with God; when you walk with someone it is natural for you to talk to them. It shouldn’t be something you have to remember. Your prayer to God should come naturally to you because you are close to God.
Paul then says that we should pray with all prayer and supplication. Prayer is simply speaking to God. Supplication is asking God for something. At first I had a difficult time telling the difference between prayer and supplication. We have a tendency when we pray to make it nothing but a supplication. We give God a laundry list of all we want Him to do; asking God for things is fine, but do we talk to God other than when we want something? Do we tell Him how much we love Him; how thankful we are for being so good to us; or simply just telling Him what is on our mind. When you walk with a friend or relative, does your whole conversation rotate around what you want them to do for you? Why should our walk with God be that way? Well, it shouldn’t. Remember when we pray to have a separate time for our supplications, and those other moments when we just talk with the Lord.
Paul puts a qualifier on how we aught to pray. Paul tells us to pray in the Spirit, and Spirit is capitalized meaning the Holy Spirit. This means we are to pray through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit gives us the ability to pray to God the Father, and the Son. We are to have our sins confessed; we are to not have grieved the Holy Ghost; we are to be in the spiritual state where we are able to approach God in prayer and have a clear slate.
Finally, our supplications are not to go one-way. They’re not to go only toward us. Notice how Paul ends verse 18.
Ephesians 6:18 “…and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;”
We are to be on constant alert as to the needs and supplications of our fellow Christians. How must God feel about Christians who constantly ask Him for things, but don’t care for providing the needs of others? God is a just God; if you don’t care about the supplications of your fellow Christian, God will be less inclined about your supplications. God will have a tendency to judge you in the same manner in which you judge others. Remember the portion of the Lord’s Prayer:
Matthew 6:12 “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”
AS WE forgive our debtors.
Care for your fellow Christian. Be on the same constant alert for the needs of other Christians as you would want God to be on the alert for your needs. If you focus your attention on taking care of the needs of others, God will certain take care of yours.