Praying at All Times
Believers will sometimes experience dry times in their walk with the Lord. They will wonder what is wrong and if there is something missing in their Christian life. No doubt, unconfessed and especially unrepented sin in one’s life can lead to such valleys. But assuming that one has examined oneself and has opened his or her heart before the Lord, the reason for such dry spells lies simply in the brokenness of the world and our own lives this side of heaven. And the Church has no “silver bullet” to get one through these seasons, that is, other than the disciplines that she recommends at all times for the saints: prayer, Bible reading, meditating thereon, worshiping God with and being active in your local church, and going about doing good. These are the things believers must continually do in season and out.
I begin this way to highlight the emphasis that Paul now places on the importance of intercessory prayer, urging the Ephesians to pray “at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.” This, we should be doing at all times, and without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). And it is praying for others that may be the very discipline that pulls you out of your own doldrums. And as we pray for those whom we know, let us not forget to pray for those we don’t—such as those in Muslim and Communist nations where Christians are routinely persecuted for the faith.
As usual at the end of his letter, Paul becomes personal. He confesses that he, the Apostle, needs prayer: “And [pray] for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.” Thus, we see that even Paul struggled with boldness to proclaim the gospel; then again, being imprisoned for doing so might lessen one’s boldness. But Paul’s plea only begs the question: What’s our excuse?
Paul’s final greetings always reveal his heart for the churches. His desire was to encourage. How we need encouragers among us. Some have that gift, but we should all seek to lift one another up and so bless the lives of others with heaven-sent words. Finally, may the love of the Father and His Son go with us every day—the only means of true peace we shall ever have—and may our hearts love Him with “love incorruptible.” I love that phrase, and we have such love “because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:5).