Pray for One Another

Greg Wetterlin June 24, 2018 Ephesians 6:18-20
Outline

3 truths about ministering to one another through prayer

I. Praying for one another should be continuous

Ephesians 6:18 - With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints…

A.      We are to be praying at all times

1 Thessalonians 5:17 - …pray without ceasing…

B.      Prayer is hard work—work hard

Ephesians 6:18 - ...be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints…

II. Prayer protects one another (v.18b)

A.      Prayer protects us from lies

Ephesians 4:22 - …that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit…

Ephesians 5:6 - Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.

B.      Prayer protects us from division

III. Prayer arms one another (v.19)

A.      Prayer arms us for evangelism

Ephesians 6:19-20 - …and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

B.      Prayer arms us to walk in a manner worthy of the gospel

Ephesians 4:1 - Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called…

C.      Prayer is power

Well, I’m sure many of you are rather tired from a full week of serving in VBS. But what a tremendous example of why the current series we are doing on some of the “one another” passages in the New Testament is so important.

Without any love for one another, there is no way that we’d be able to get along well enough to pull together a week long event that requires hundreds of volunteers, like VBS. Or maybe, we’d make it through the week, but then there’d be a whole lot of fighting and bickering afterward. But praise the Lord for a church family that is growing in loving one another.

Without encouraging one another, there is also no way that VBS would happen. There is the necessary encouragement on the front end when we’re planning, recruiting, decorating and so forth. But  there is also the encouragement that might be necessary to find strength or patience to lead or assist 60 children for another evening. Or I can remember the encouragement I received after a lesson I taught a few years ago to a 3rd grade class, where I was thinking maybe I should throw in the towel on this whole teaching business...

There are hundreds of opportunities and examples of the one anothers that happened throughout VBS here this past week. So many of them could fall under the “loving one another” or “serving one another heading.”

But there is a one another element that isn’t as noticeable as many of the other one anothers...yet even though it can easily go unnoticed, it is critical to the success of those the things we’ve talked about in previous weeks and for the one anothers we’ll discuss in the weeks ahead.

But before we get there, let’s talk about Enigma...

  • In WWII, the Axis powers used a communication encryption device called Enigma.
    • The purpose of the device was to conceal the messages of the Axis powers, so that the Allied powers would have no idea what they were saying.
    • The brilliance of the machine, was that even though the Allies could hear the messages from the Axis powers, they could not interpret what they were saying because they were encrypted.
  • Communication is one of the most important parts waging effective attacks, setting up defenses and coordinating strategy.
    • The Enigma machine allowed the Axis powers to communicate easily, without tipping off the Allies to what they were about to do.
    • So when the Allies discovered the Enigma machine, they started to put a lot of energy and resources towards cracking the Enigma machine.
  • If they could disrupt the communications of the enemy, then they could disrupt the success of their missions and win the war.
  • Now, that kind of continual prayer where we are essentially in constant communication with God, seeing his hand sovereignly working in all the circumstances of my life, whether pleasant or challenging, doesn’t come naturally...
  • Ephesians 6:18 - ...be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,
  • Some of us may naturally be very aware of safety...other may not be so alert when it comes to safety.
  • Some of us may be naturally alert when it comes to what we say...others may say the first thing that comes out of their mouth.
  • Some of us may be very aware of our surroundings...while others may be totally obviously.
  • All of those things that Paul mentions, are things that we cannot see with our physical eyes...the flaming arrows of the evil one that Paul mentions in v.16 would be a whole lot easier to be alert to, if we could see them with our physical eyes...
  • Have you ever considered that perseverance is only something you need when things are challenging and when you want to stop?
  • What I’ve found is that it’s not very hard to start...you might start by buying a new journal and start recording all the prayer requests you can think of.
  • Or in today’s day and age you get a app to help you organize and keep track of all your prayer requests...
  • And after you spent the hours to get everything in there, it lasts like 3 days...
  • Here’s my encouragement to you. Don’t be discouraged that it didn’t last. Know that it’s hard work that God is calling us to.
  • If your part of small group, or point man group, ask them to pray for you in this area that you’d grow to become a person who prays continuously.
  • “Work, work, from early until late. In fact, I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.”
  • The obvious answer being of course not. God doesn’t bless you with more so that you’d seek his help and power less!
  • “stand firm” is the controlling verb all the way through v.18.
  • Stand firm by putting on the belt of truth
  • Stand firm by putting on the breastplate of righteousness
  • Stand firm by “having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace”...[don’t you love that word...shod] I’m going to shod my feet with tennis shoes...anyways...
  • Stand firm by taking up the shield of faith
  • Stand firm by taking the helmet of salvation
  • Stand firm by the sword of the Spirit
  • And Stand firm by praying at all times in the Spirit...
  • They had quite the arsenal, but apart from the power of fuel it was going to be absolutely useless to them.
  • We can’t have the belt of truth, and the breastplate of righteousness and the sword of the Spirit and so forth, and then march off into battle without prayer empowering us every step of the way.
  • The answer is through dependent prayer and petition and praying at all times in the Spirit.
  • You don’t have to go oversees to minister to the saints, you can minister to saints far away through your continually prayer for them...
  • You don’t have to know the person in order to minister to them you can pray for them and God hears your prayers and works through them...
  • And I am convinced that there is a lot of trouble that I avoided and was rescued from, simply because of the faithful prayers of my parents.
  • If we’re going to walk in a manner worthy of the gospel, we have to put off our old life. We can no longer live the same way we did before we received salvation in Christ Jesus.
  • But notice that our old self is corrupted in accordance with the lust of deceit...
    • Our old self—the actions, words, motivations, and thoughts were all driven by deceitful desires!
  • Paul wants us to walk worthy of the gospel which means walking in humility and gentleness, having patience and bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
  • And because we all our sinners, it is pretty easy to find things to be bitter towards someone else about...
  • Or it’s pretty easy to find something about someone to slander them about...
  • Just imagine for a moment that you’re in the army and you’re on the front lines. You’ve just camped over night knowing that in the morning you’ll be marching into a battle. Do you, view getting ready for battle as simply an individual endeavor?
  • Meaning, do you get ready for battle and as soon as you’re ready, even if no one else is, think, “Well, I can’t worry about them I have a battle to get to!”
  • Of course not! If you a bunch of your army is armed and ready to go, then that’s going to be a serious problem.
  • That’s what an ambassador is. It’s a person that goes on behalf of another person or nation to do the business of the person sending them.
  • The book of Ephesians is probably written quiet late in Paul’s life. So he’s already done a lot of evangelism all across the Roman Empire.
  • And yet, Paul recognizes that his needs to be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might...
    • It’s not Paul’s skill or strength or might that is needed to be armed for evangelism.
  • And as a result, he didn’t go to the Corinthians hoping to win people to Christ because of his power of persuasion or “lofty speech and wisdom.”
  • Rather, he said he came in “weakness” and that his proclamation wasn’t in great words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.
  • All throughout this letter he has emphasized the important role that the entire body plays in strengthening one another, and helping one another grow and become more like Christ.
  • So here, while he is alone in prison, away from the body of believers, still recognizes the importance of the prayers of the saints for him in arming him for what God has called him to do.
  • Do you value them enough to actually let others know how to pray for you?
  • But do we humbly see that we are in need of help, or do we view ourselves as the strong ones that don’t need the help of others?
  • I have always appreciated Pastor Viars leadership in this way, especially as we are ramping up for the Biblical Counseling Training Conference.
    • It’s true that Faith has been doing this conference for decades...
    • It’s true that the BCTC has been the largest Biblical Counseling conference in the world...
    • It’s true that much of the conference is like a well-oiled machine...
  • But, even though in some sense “we know what we’re doing, and we’ve done it before,” Pastor Viars has continued to lead us to humbly pray and ask for the Lord to strengthen what we are doing.
  • Friends, if we don’t bathe what we’re the Lord has commanded us to do in prayer, then we could be running into battle without the blessing and strength of the Lord.
  • And so the armor of God needs to be seen as essential for walking in a manner worthy of the gospel, and therefore, prayer must be seen as absolutely essential to arming us for walking in a worthy manner of the gospel.
  • Putting on humility and putting off pride...
  • We are putting on gentleness and putting of abrasiveness...
  • We are putting on patience and putting off irritability...
  • We are putting on unity and putting of division and discord...
  • So I’d encourage you, evaluate how you pray for others. Do you pray in such a way that they would be protected and just not fall into sin? Or do you also pray that they would progress and become more and more like Christ.
  • So I’d encourage you to couple your prayer with your daily study of Scripture.
  • If you’re in a section of Scripture like 1 John 1 that talks about confession, that pray for all the saints that God would open their eyes to sin and that they’d be quick to confess their sins rather than to cover them.
  • Or if you’re in a psalm like Psalm 103, that encourages us not to forget all the benefits of the Lord...then I’d encourage you to pray for all the saints that they would have their eyes opened to the many, many benefits of God and that they’d be moved to praise him and thank him.
  • Or if you’re in a passage like Ephesians 4:25–32, that gives specific examples of behavior and thinking to put off and new behaviors and thinking to put on. Then pray specifically for those things in other peoples lives.
  • Prayer connects us to the power of God to protect us and our brothers and sisters in Christ from the fierce attacks of the evil one and our flesh.
  • Prayer also connects us to the power of God to help us advance the kingdom of God through evangelism and through the progressive sanctification of God’s people.
  • Now if Jesus said he specifically prayed for you by name, and that Satan as specifically asked for you to sift you like wheat, a really good response would be to pray yourself that God would strengthen you...
  • What if, instead of asserting their commitment and strength to follow Jesus even to death, they had instead turned in prayer asking to be strengthened, and protected for what was going to come?
  • But rather than watching and being alert they were asleep.
  • How might the story have been different if instead they were watchful in prayer for one another?
  • So my encouragement to one another, is to not be like the disciples in the garden...don’t be SLEEPING on your brothers and sisters in Christ who need your continual prayers for protection and arming.
  • Friends, he’s right. God’s power is available to us! But don’t expect to see it if we’re not going to be faithful to give ourselves to much prayer and meditation.

Our text today, is at the end of Ephesians and is in the context of the armor of God and spiritual war. This section is part of the last half of Ephesians which falls under the topic sentence of Ephesians 4:1, which says we are to walk in a manner worthy of the gospel...

And the point of finishing this section and the book of off with a discussion on spiritual warfare, is to emphasize that if we are going to live in a manner worthy of the gospel, then we better be ready to engage in war.

And like WWII, effective communication is crucial to waging successful spiritual warfare.

So with that in mind, please open your Bibles to Ephesians 6:18. That’s on page 153 of the back section of the Bible under the chair in front of you, if you’re using that.

[Read Eph. 6:18–20]

So this year we’ve been thinking about the idea of “Being Careful How We Build.” And we’ve explored what it is we are building, and in the current series we are doing, we are thinking about how we are to build one-another.

So with the time we have remaining, we’re going to focusing on 3 truths about ministering to one another through prayer.

The first truth is that praying for one another should be continuous.

I.                   Praying for one another should be continuous.

Paul emphasizes the frequency and continual nature of prayer by repeating the word “all” 4 times in verse 18, and he explicitly says that we are to be praying “at all times” in the Spirit.

A.     We are to be praying at all times

To pray at all times does not mean that you must quit your job and do nothing but pray. But it does mean that prayer should be so normal to a believer that formally spending time in prayer and spontaneous prayer throughout the day is a normal part of life.

When we read the gospels, we do not see Jesus doing nothing but praying, and we don’t see Jesus teaching his disciples to do that either. But we do see that Jesus is continual communion with his Father throughout the day. The point is prayer and communication with the Lord, is to be frequent and continuous.

1 Thessalonians 5:17 makes the same point by saying that we are to, pray without ceasing;

Tim Keller says, that means to “do everything all day with conscious reference to God (1 Cor. 10:31).”[1]

John MacArthur similarly says, “to pray at all times is to live in continual God consciousness, where everything we see and experience becomes a kind of prayer, lived in deep awareness of and surrender to our heavenly Father.”[2]

And that’s why I want to emphasize that prayer is hard—so work hard!

B.      Prayer is hard work—work hard

Notice that in v.18, we are called to...

There are a couple of things we are called to be that I think are very challenging for us.

The first is, to be alert.

We all have things that we may be naturally alert to...what we’re commanded to be alert to here are things that all of us struggle to be alert to. We have to be alert to opposition and attacks in the realm of spiritual warfare.

Ephesians 6:12 say, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

 In WWII, submarines played a major role in limiting the Allied forces and specifically weakening England. Their success was due to the fact that they couldn’t be seen. And Winston Churchill later wrote, “The only thing that really frightened me during the war was the U-boat peril.”

Similarly, we need to see that what we’re called to be on alert for, is something that we cannot see with our physical eyes. Rather, they are enemies and dangers that must be discerned with spiritual eyes, which highlights the importance of continual prayer for help and strength.

But not only are we called to be alert, but we are called to be alert with all perseverance.

Well, if we need all perseverance, that gives us yet another reason to prayer is so important...we need help to persevere!

But make no mistake that the continual prayer that we’re called to is hard work...the prayer that Paul is commending to us here, is not the, “I’ll take the easy way out of this one and just pray for you” kind of approach.

Haven any you been around someone who is just a prayer warrior? They are the 1 Thess. 5:17 example of prayer to you...and so you get convicted and fired up all at the same time, to grow in prayer and follow in their example.

Have any of you had that experience? Yeah, I think many of us have.

And here is are a couple action steps for you to help you grow depending on where you are in the spectrum of praying continuously.

  • If you are struggling with consistent prayer, then block off in your schedule a focused to time pray in the morning and in the evening.
    • You don’t have time to do everything...your time is limited. So you better make the time for the things that are most important in life and put them in your schedule.
  • If your wanting to grow in praying continuously throughout your day, I’d encourage you if you work on your computer or can have your phone at work, set a reminder every couple hours. If you can’t have a phone or computer, then set an alarm on your watch to help you build the habit of being in constant communion with the Lord.
  • One other action step to help you grow in prayer is to get into Scripture more.

Martin Luther once replied to a man who asked him what his plans were the next day and Martin Luther said,

That is a helpful perspective. I heard a pastor of a large church ask once, “Do you think God blessed me with a large congregation so that I’d pray less?”

We are called to be “praying in the Spirit” at all times. What it means to pray in the Spirit is to pray in accordance with what the Spirit desires. And what the Spirit desires is that Jesus Christ and the Father be glorified. Well, Scripture is where the desires of our Lord and the glory of Christ come alive.

So if prayer is hard for you, ask yourself, how important is Scripture in your life?

If prayer is communion with God, how often do you allow God to speak to you through his word? So maybe the reason it’s had to commune with the Lord in prayer continuously, is because you’re not listening to the Lord from his Word.

Now, the next two truths highlight just how important continual prayer for one another is. The first of those points is that prayer protects one another.

C.      Prayer protects one another

As we’ve already seen, the command to pray in the spirit at all times is in the context of spiritual warfare. Some commentators and translators choose to see these verses on prayer as a new section. In fact, in the NASB, it starts a new paragraph and a new sentence at v.18.

But in v.18 there is no independent verb. Rather, there is a participle that modifies an earlier verb. And that earlier verb is at the beginning of v.14. The verb is “Stand firm.”

So the main point is, Stand firm, and vv.14–18, explain how.

So the way that the armor of God is meant to protect you from the “rulers...the powers...the world forces of this darkness...and the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places”, so prayer is to be viewed as protection as well.

But even more than viewing prayer as an “in addition” to the armor of God, or viewing it as a separate piece of the armor of God, by Paul dropping the “armor” metaphor when he gets to prayer, he emphasizes how the ENTIRE armor of God is empower by prayer.

You see, prayer is not just another piece of defense or another spiritual weapon. “Rather, Paul is presenting prayer as foundation for the deployment of all the other weapons.”[3]

Since, we’re in the vain of warfare, why not stick with the war examples...and by the end of this message you’ll probably figure out what war I’m most familiar with...

But in WWII, one of the major crisis that Germany ran into later in the war was not having enough fuel to supply their tanks and transports, especially as their war front was expanding.

The same is in view here. We cannot pick up the armor of God and then believe we can make it on our own.

v.10 – commands us to “be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.” How do we do that? V.11 says by, “putting on the full armor of God...”

Well, how do we put on the full armor of God?

One commentator on this passage wrote, “Prayer is the essence of spiritual warfare and the most important means by which believers are strengthened by God.”[4]

Now, we are commanded here to pray for all the saints, and because the main verb is to stand firm, and this is a context of spiritual warfare, part of our view in praying for one another has to be seen as praying for the protection of others.

And the implication of this text is that our prayers play a genuine difference in the lives of others, whether I they know I prayed for them or not. And in a very real way, our prayers allow us to minister to others far beyond our monetary limitations, our geographical limitations and beyond our time limitations.

I know, that my mom and dad are praying people. And I know they prayed for me a lot. Not because they told me, but I saw them pray and saw how they’d turn to the Lord quickly in prayer.

Prayer in Paul’s view, and in the view of this text is not a secondary way of ministering to others. It is a primary and crucial way to minister effectively to others.

In the context we have seen that things that we need to be protected from so that we can stand firm are things like the “schemes of the devil”, the “flaming arrows of the evil one” and against “spiritual forces of wickedness.”

But it’s important to remember that this discussion of spiritual warfare falls at the conclusion to the section of Ephesians that is all about “walking in a manner that is worthy of the gospel.” Chapters 4–6 all have to do with that main topic, of walking worthy of the gospel. So the reason that Paul would finish with a discussion on Spiritual warfare, is to help his readers understand that there is real opposition and danger that can keep and wants to keep you from walking in a manner that is worthy of the gospel.

And so when we think through prayer as protection, earlier parts of Ephesians can help define more precisely what the dangers and obstacles are to walking in a manner worthy of the gospel are.

One of the main attacks we need to be protected from is “lies.”

D.     Prayer protects us from lies

In Ephesians 4:22 - that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit

We need to pray for all the saints that they would see the deceitful desires and lusts of their old self and put them away from good.

Or another verse that shows this is,

Ephesians 5:6 - Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.

There again, we see that being deceived is a real danger. And deception is danger because it’s often times not obvious...a good lie (if that’s even a phrase that I’m allowed to use in church...) is a lie that is believable.

I don’t know about you, but there are some lies that I am more vulnerable to. And I need all the protection I can get.

Martin Luther, the famous reformer, is known for his bold stand at the Diet of Worms and his strong faith in God that led him to stand up to the infamously large enemy of the papacy and the Catholic church.

But what is maybe not as well known, is the struggles that he had with doubts at times. And in his writings he indicated

...that even when we don’t have faith, the faith of our friends and family can be enough. [His point] is  that his friends’ prayers sustained him when he could not sustain himself.[5]

That I believe is an implication of this text. Prayer for others is sometimes enough for God to protect them, even though they are not choosing to put on the armor of God through praying in the Spirit themselves.

So, I’d encourage you, pray for ALL the saints. Pray for your pastors and deacons. Pray for your missionaries. Pray for your ABF, your small group. Pray for the other faithful gospel preaching churches. Your prayers...although maybe not flashy or noticeable have real effects.

Another danger that we see in Ephesians that we need protection from is division.

E.      Prayer protects us from division

In the beginning of Eph. 4, unity is a huge theme.

If unity means walking worthy of the gospel...then it makes sense that our adversary would want to destroy unity. He would want to create hostility. He want us to live in Eph. 4:31 where there is bitterness, wrath, anger clamor, slander and malice.

We encounter things every day, that if we’re not continuously in prayer, and alert with all perseverance, we could easily fall.

And again, if you think in the context of warfare...unity is critical. Every person in the army doing their part all for the common goal is crucial.

So my encouragement to us as a church is that we view praying for one another as absolutely essential to helping everyone be ready to stand against the schemes of the devil, deceitful desires and words, and against division.

So praying for one another should be continuous, and it is crucial for protection, but prayer also arms one another.

II.                Prayer arms one another (v.19)

Most of the armor of God is defensive and protective in nature. But the sword of the Spirit is a weapon for attacking and advancing the Kingdom.

So just as prayer is essential for the armor of God which is to help us stand against the attacks of the enemy, so prayer is essential so that we can defeat our enemy and be found standing in victory over our enemy in the evil day.

In the immediate context of our passage, we see that Paul is asking that we pray that he’d be armed for evangelism.

A.     Prayer arms us for evangelism

Ephesians 6:19–20 - and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

Paul, knows that he is an “ambassador” for Christ. He views his imprisonment as a ministry assignment. An assignment, which God sent him on.

So Paul is viewing his imprisonment as an opportunity to do the work of the Lord. And the work of the Lord is advancing the Kingdom of Christ through the bold proclamation of the gospel.

It is significant, that Paul, arguably the greatest evangelist and missionary on this side of the cross, that he is asking for prayer that he would be bold in speaking the gospel.

This idea that it’s not our strength or ability or wisdom pervasive throughout Paul’s writings.

In 1 Corinthians 1, he makes it clear that the message of the gospel is foolishness to those that are perishing.

The point, is that Paul never viewed evangelism as something that could ever be accomplished apart from the empowering of the Spirit.

So as a result, to the end he requests that we pray for him, that he would be armed in order to boldly proclaim the gospel.

Now, you know that Paul is praying for himself, that he’d be armed to proclaimed the gospel effectively. But his asking for prayer also demonstrates that he doesn’t view his ministry as something that just “he and Jesus” can do.

So let me ask you, do you value the prayers of other people on your behalf?

If we keep with the metaphor of the armor of God, “soldiers typically need help in putting on their armor, [and] prayer can be seen as a way that we can help “arm” fellow believers for the struggle.”

I know, as I was preparing this message, this was a very convicting point to me. I mean, Paul is asking for prayer to do what he knows he needs to do, and what he knows how to do!

That is an accurate and humble view that as a church we need to cultivate.

Because as Psalm 127 says, “Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.”

If we as a church approach the church launch of Faith Church North as simply a reduplication of Faith Church West, and think we got this...we know how do to this, but we don’t continually humbly ask the Lord to strengthen and empower us, then we could do a lot of hard work and labor for nothing.

So prayer arms us, and it arms us specifically for evangelism as Paul notes in vv.19–20. But prayer also arms us to walk in a manner worthy of the gospel.

B.      Prayer arms us to walk in a manner worthy of the gospel

And I realize Ephesians 6:18–20 doesn’t explicitly say that, but as I’ve mentioned the topic sentence for chapters 4 through the end of Ephesians is Eph. 4:1 which says,

Ephesians 4:1 - Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,

Everything that Paul says in the last 3 chapters of Ephesians can be viewed through the lens of walking worthy of the gospel...

And what that means is that we are,

In other words, it means prayer arms us to put off sin and to put on righteousness. Continual prayer is essential for progressive sanctification.

So prayer not only protects us from sin, but it also arms us to defeat sin and to advance in becoming more and more like Christ.

If we are to pray in the Spirit at all times, and the Word of God is the sword of the Spirit, then that means that we are going to need to know God’s Word in order to use it.

George Mueller, who lived in England and lived in the 1800’s, is well known for his remarkable dependence on God through prayer. His work in founding orphanages is what many people know him for. And in some of his autobiographical writings he described, “that he was particularly concerned to meditate on Scripture as a means of warming his heart and leading it into prayer.”[6]

You see, Scripture is the weapon that we are given that is empowered by prayer in the Spirit. So prayer the Scriptures for yourself and for your brothers and sisters in Christ, so that they may be armed to walk in a manner worthy of the gospel.

To close, I want to think about the power of prayer...

C.      Prayer is power

What we’ve already seen and discussed up to this point, should make it clear to us that prayer really is powerful.

But I want to leave you with a couple examples in Scripture to highlight the power of prayer, just so that you leave here with a clear conviction that prayer isn’t just a good thing...it is foundational to everything we do as believers.

In Luke 22, we see a place where Jesus tells Peter that he prayed for him specifically.

In v.31 it says, “Simon, Simon, behold Satan has demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again strengthen your brothers.”

But instead of that, “Peter said to him ‘Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.’” But “Jesus said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny me three times.”

And that is exactly what happened. Peter denied Christ three times before the rooster crowed. But Jesus’ prayer that his faith would not fail was answered, because Peter’s significant failure of denying Christ, didn’t result in him never recovering. Instead, the prayer of Jesus himself turned out to protect Peter spiraling downward after denying Jesus.

We know from the gospel of Mark, that Jesus predicted Peter’s denial and all the disciples fleeing Christ while they were all together.

If you think about later that night, when Jesus is praying in the Garden of Gethsemene, before Judas betrays him...

He asked his disciples to watch with him...to be alert with him in prayer. That sounds a lot like what Paul says in v.18 of Ephesians 6 – “be alert!”

Prayer really is powerful. And this gives a powerful picture of the dangers that can befall us, when we are not alert and persevering continually in prayer. Our enemy is persistent, and continual in his attacks? So we must be persistent and continual in our prayer for help.

Friends, there are enough people watching Netflix, to keep them in business...let’s not be continually taking in entertainment. Let’s be continual in prayer.

Likewise, let’s make sure we aren’t continually in the news, or in the newest and latest technology, let’s make sure that we are continually in prayer.

Here’s a quote from George Mueller that I’d like to leave you with: It says,

“This I most firmly believe, that no one ought to expect to see much good from his labors in word and doctrine if he is not given to much prayer and meditation.”

So in our ministry to one another, let’s make sure that prayer is applied lavishly to all of it.

Let’s pray.

 

[1] Timothy Keller, Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God (Dutton, 2014), 240.

[2] John MacArthur, Ephesians MacArthur New Testament Commentary, 8th Printing edition. (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 1986), 380.

[3] Clinton E. Arnold, Ephesians (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2010), 463.

[4] Arnold, Ephesians, 474.

[5] Eric Metaxas, Martin Luther: The Man Who Rediscovered God and Changed the World (New York: Viking, 2017), 383.

[6] Keller, Prayer, 243.

Greg Wetterlin

B.S. - Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University
M.Div - Faith Bible Seminary

Pastor Greg Wetterlin and his wife, Erika, joined the Faith staff in July of 2016. Greg’s responsibilities include oversight of Restoration Men's Ministries as well as shepherding and teaching in Faith Church.