Watch and Pray | Ephesians 6:13-18
Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out. Ephesians 6:13-18 |MSG
“Watch and pray,” Jesus told the disciples. And they slept. Which means that we really do fit in their company! There is a dynamic connection between being awake and prayer. And like the chicken and the egg we can debate about which produces the other. Does prayer keep us awake, alert to what is going on around us as we pray? Or does being awake empower us to pray for what we now see happening around us? And the answer, of course, is “Yes.” As we observed with worship in private and public settings, prayer naturally flows publicly and privately in the life of one who is awake to God and his presence. God awakens us, so we pray, which leads to a heightened awareness of what is happening around us and of God’s movements in the hearts and circumstances we encounter, which leads to more prayer. In Paul’s metaphorical picture in Ephesians 6 of our spiritual warfare, after all the armor of God has been strapped on and the sword of the Spirit taken in hand, prayer is the one specific marching order we are given. “Praying at all times in the Spirit for all of God’s people with all kinds of prayer and supplications.” “Fighting the good fight of faith” is less about religious arguments and debates, more about praying without ceasing – or what Brother Lawrence famously called, “practicing the presence.” Prayer without pretense or show, without calculation for effect; prayer as the Spirit’s call of “Abba, Father” rising from a heart awakened to His presence.
How would you describe your prayer life? Fervent and flowing? Sporadic? Struggling? Non-existent? Why?
Lord, teach me to pray! Lead me into deeper paths of true prayer and communion with you that leaves behind empty religious repetitions or selfish manipulations. Show me how to simply and authentically be with you – and with others! – in prayer. Through Jesus.
If you don’t have a regular time of quiet prayer before God, pursue such a practice for the next three days. Find a place, set a time (morning, noon or evening), and aim at a duration (5, 10, 20 minutes). Perhaps use one of the Psalms to help get you started. Read it aloud, try praying through it, or at least the parts of it that speak to you. See where it leads you.
For all of this week’s resources for this new series on Spiritual Disciplines including this week’s DG video, check out the Vineyard website.