Final Exhortations

Ephesians 6:18-22

Edward McKendree Bounds, Power through Prayer (1907), in first chapter “Men of Prayer Needed” wrote:

“WE are constantly on a stretch, if not on a strain, to devise new methods, new plans, new organizations to advance the Church and secure enlargement and efficiency for the gospel. This trend of the day has a tendency to lose sight of the man or sink the man in the plan or organization. God’s plan is to make much of the man, far more of him than of anything else. Men are God’s method. The Church is looking for better methods; God is looking for better men. …

What the Church needs to-day is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more and novel methods, but men whom the Holy Ghost can use-men of prayer, men mighty in prayer. The Holy Ghost does not flow through methods, but through men. He does not come on machinery, but on men. He does not anoint plans, but men-men of prayer.”

Example of the early church:

Act_1:14  These all [the 120] continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.

Act_1:24  And they prayed and said, “You, O Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two You have chosen.

Act_2:42  And they [including the 3000] continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.

Act_4:31  And when they [the Jerusalem congregation] had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.

The beginning phrase of verse 18 is connected with the imperative of verse 14:  “Stand, therefore, with all prayer and supplication, praying on every occasion, in the Spirit.”  Charles Hodge  The intervening verses (14-17) deal with the soldier’s equipment, this exhortation to prayer deals with his enabling.  Reminder: prayer is the God-ordained means of supplying our needs, either through our own prayers or those of others.  See Jas_4:2.  Again  from Charles Hodge, “As the Christian has no resources of strength in himself, and can succeed only as aided from above, the apostle urges the duty of prayer.”

The Christian has a duty first to pray for all the saints which, by the way, would include himself;  he then has a duty to pray for the missionary, and he has a duty to pray specifically insofar as he is able.

1.  Pray for the saints  v.18

  • at all times/on every occasion
  • using every form or sort of prayer

1.       The expression all prayer, means all kinds of prayer, oral and mental, ejaculatory and formal. The prayers which Paul would have the Christian warrior use, are not merely those of the closet and of stated seasons, but also those habitual and occasional aspirations, and outgoings of the heart after God, which a constant sense of his nearness and a constant sense of our necessity must produce.  Hodge

  • specifically including supplication

2.      petition – formal request for something needed or desired

3.      primary need

  • proper and effective use of the armor
  • effective soldiering
  • in the Spirit

4.      under his influence

5.      with his assistance

  • alertly and persistently

6.      to the end that we may be effective

7.      looking for opportunities for prayer

8.      watchful of hindrances to prayer

9.      persisting/persevering

  • to continue to do something with intense effort, with the possible implication of [persisting] despite difficulty – ‘to devote oneself to, to keep on, to persist in.’ Louw-Nida
  • for all the saints

10.  the church militant is a single army comprised of many units

11.   individual saints are not fighting alone

12.   we must not focus on either extreme – the individual to the exclusion of the whole or vice versa

2.  Pray for the missionary  v.19-20

  • utterance

1.       the words or message

2.      appropriate to the setting

3.      divine assistance in his preaching

4.      a clear gospel – that the hearers may come to understand the mystery

  • open mouth

5.      not squandering opportunities

6.      not hesitant but prepared

  • boldness

7.      speaking fearlessly

  • no fear of reprisal or harm
  • no fear of disapproval, ridicule
  • no fear of an effective challenge to what is spoken

8.      no one can take on God’s truth and prevail

9.      as an ambassador should

10.  speaking frankly

  • Openly; freely; ingenuously; without reserve, constraint or disguise; Webster
  • plainly and to the point; cf. Nicodemus

3.  Pray specifically  v.21-22

  • his circumstances

1.       in handcuffs

2.      prison ministry opportunities

3.      the fruits of his labors

4.      Both his temporal and spiritual affairs; as that he was in bonds, and how he was supported under them, and of what use they were to others; how that he preached in his own hired house, and with what success; and what ministering brethren he had with him to assist him; and in what condition was the church at Rome where he now was: the apostle’s life and actions would bear the light, and what he did was worthy of imitation, and must be both delightful and useful to know;  Gill

  • his health

5.      specific health issues

  • his thorn in the flesh – 2Co_12:7-9
  • his eyesight – “what large letters” Gal_6:11 (see also Act_9:18 and Act_23:5, along with Gal_4:15)
  • his needs

6.      e.g., the cloak, the books, the parchments he requested from Timothy  2Ti_3:13

7.      It is desirable to good ministers both that their Christian friends should know their state and that they should be acquainted with the condition of their friends; for by this means they may the better help each other in their prayers.  Matthew Henry

Remember, the power is not in prayer.  Prayer is just the means, the conduit through which we receive what we need from our Heavenly Father.  The power attendant on prayer is that of God himself; the results come from God, the blessings, the things, the supplies, everything we have is the gift of Jehovah-Jireh.  Remember, also, that we should use the resources we have available to pray as effectively as possible.

  • weekly Dare-to-Care prayer sheet
  • monthly ARBCA prayer update
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