This post continues the series on Fighting the Spiritual Battle in Prayer and tackles the first “all” of Ephesians 6:18.
“…Praying 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.” (Ephesians 6:18)
The apostle Paul uses the word “all” four times in Ephesians 6:18. In the next few posts, I’m going to unpack each one as we think about prayer that stands firm against the enemy and advances the gospel.
All #1: Praying at “all times.”
There’s no pause button for the spiritual war. The devil doesn’t sleep or take vacations. The spiritual war is always on—that’s why we need to pray at all times.
Maybe you’re tempted to think that it’s actually impossible to pray at all times. You can’t pray when you sleep! Is praying at all times even possible? Or maybe you think that since it’s impossible to fulfill this command perfectly, we shouldn’t even think about how to obey it.
Let’s remember a couple of things. First, is that God isn’t going to command something that is impossible—He’ll give us the ability to obey as He desires. Maybe we won’t pray words to God every second of every day, but maybe we’ll live in a spirit of prayer that constantly talks with God and remembers His presence.
Secondly, instead of debating if it is possible to pray at all times or not, I think it’s more productive to think of the opportunity that God gives us. Not everyone has access to God. Most people in your town and near Chicago (where I live) don’t have access to God in prayer. But for those of us in Christ, “we have boldness and access with confidence by faith” (Ephesians 3:12).
When you are tempted to say something disrespectful to your spouse—pray at all times—because God is ready to help you. When working for your boss seems impossible, pray. When you don’t know if you can go on in the Christian life, pray. Even when all seems to be going well, pray, because we always need to be careful and never think we’re standing firm (as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:12). Constant prayer that seeks the face of God deepens our communion with Him and effectiveness of our prayers (John 15:7).
Brothers and sisters, this command to pray at all times should encourage us greatly. We can read “pray at all times” as if God were saying to us, “I am always available to hear you and help you. Come to me.”