The Book of Ephesians ~ Chapter 6:18 ~ Prayer Makes the Armor of God Effective for Victory!

Vol. 17, No. 27 – July 8, 2018

put on whole armor of God pic

Eph 6:10-24, Stand in Warfare!

Continuing in our outline of Eph 6:10-24, (The Believer’s Walk in Warfare; God’s Provision for His Children’s Spiritual Battles).

  • The Empowerment, vs. 10.
  • The Enemy, vs. 11-12.
  • The Equipment, vs. 13-17.
  • The Energy, vs. 18-20, God’s Appeal for Prayer in the Church.
  • The Encouragement, vs. 21-24.

We are now on the fourth point: The Energy, vs. 18-20, God’s Appeal for Prayer in the Church. Here we see the Royal Family’s responsibility to exercise our corporate privilege of prayer as professional Christian soldiers.

The question is, would you rather stand alone with all your armor of or stand in array with your fellow Christian soldiers when facing the enemy?

ROM soldiers shields

We begin with vs. 18.

Vs. 18, Prayer Makes the Armor of God Effective for Victory!

Eph 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.”

This verse begins with “With all prayer and petition,” DIA PAS PROSEUCHE KAI DEESIS.

DIA, διά is a Preposition that means, “through, by, with, because of, or for the sake of.” Being in this Genitive construction, it is a Genitive of Means, showing us it is a marker of instrumentality that tells us “HOW” something is accomplished. We could translate this “by means of all prayer and petition.” Here we see that the “Full Armor of God,” which is made up of the Word of God resident in your soul, is both put on and made effective by the means of prayer and petitions.

The Adjective PAS, πᾶς that means, “all, every, each, etc.,” tells us that “by means of all” of our prayers we should be asking God to empower us with His Armor.

Then we have the word for “prayer,” which is PROSEUCHE προσευχή, that means, “prayer or petition.” We noted this word back in Eph 1:16, regarding Paul’s prayer for the Church and will note the principles of prayer below. It is used about 40 times in the NT.

Then we have the coordinating Conjunction KAI, “and,” with DEESIS, δέησις that means, “request, petition, prayer, or supplication.” Petition means, “to make a demand for action, an appeal or request to a higher authority.” Supplication means, “to make an appeal to someone in authority, a humble and sincere appeal to someone who has the power to grant a request.” Prayer is general, supplication is special and specific.

This is the first time DEESIS is used in the Book of Ephesians and will be used again at the end of this verse. Related to the verb DEOMAI, “ask, beg, or beseech,” DEESIS is basically a “request” or an “entreaty” in a religious context. When addressed to God it can mean a “prayer,” but a specific type of prayer called a request or petition prayer. Yet, Papyri also indicates that the word was a strong term meaning more than a simple request. It was used of a prisoner’s request, (probably for freedom or some favor), as well as in requests to false deities. Paul explicitly linked DEESIS to prayer four times, Eph 6:18; Phil 4:6; 1 Tim 2:1; 5:5. In His role as High Priest, Heb 5:7 portrays Jesus as offering “prayers and petitions” to God. Therefore, this word is used to doubly emphasize our prayers to God where we have specific requests or action items for Him.

The context here is that we are to be asking God directly to equip us with His armor.

Phil 4:6, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

Now we are given the action item, “pray or praying,” with the Verb PROSEUCHOMAI, even though the substantives have indicated this thus far. PROSEUCHOMAI προσεύχομαι is in the Present, Middle Deponent, Participle, Nominative, Plural. It is the “thing” we are to be doing on behalf of ourselves and others: Praying to God! This is the first time this word is used in Ephesians, but is used extensively throughout the NT; used nearly 90 times.

In the Bible, we find that this word means both intimacy with the one we are praying to, as well as being a personal petition. The previous sections of this passage have indicated that for us, but this word by itself explains that to us.

Next, we have the frequency or “WHEN,” of our prayers and petitions, “at all times,” which in the Greek is EN PAS KAIROS. KAIROS, καιρός means, “time, a fixed time, season, or opportunity.” We saw this word in Eph 1:10; 2:12; 5:16. In those instances it was speaking of specific time periods or seasons. Here in this construction, it is in the Dative of Time, denoting a point of time or in this case the frequency of when we should to be petitioning God. It answers the question “WHEN?” If we translated it “praying in every season” it would indicate that we are to pray in both the good times and the bad times. “Praying at all times” gives us that sense as well, as does “praying on every occasion.”

The answer to the question, “when should I be petitioning God in prayer to equip me with His armor?” is “all the time” or virtually every time you pray. The reason is, because any time you pray to God asking Him for something, the answer is based on having the Full Armor of God.

So in the first part, we saw the “HOW?” How do I complete the equipping of God’s Armor? The answer is, “through petition prayers.” Now in the second part, we see the “WHEN?” When do I petition God for His armament in prayer? The answer is, “every time you pray, on every occasion.” Prayer is needed in this fight. The Armor of God is necessary, but so is prayer.

Luke 18:1, “Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart.”

Col 1:3, “We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you.”

Col 4:2, “Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving.”

1 Thes 5:17, “Pray without ceasing.”

“Satan trembles when he sees, The weakest saint upon his knees.” (A.T. Roberts, Word Pictures in the New Testament.)

Therefore, the position of victory for the Christian Soldier is on his knees in prayer and reverence to God.

Soldier on Knees

Next, we have the Dative of Means construction of the Preposition EN, and the Noun PNEUMA for “in the Spirit.” This could be a Dative of Sphere, indicating that the filling of the Holy Spirit is necessary as we pray. Yet, the Dative of Means tells us of the instrument by which the action is accomplished. This gives us a principle of prayer that is noted in Rom 8:26-27.

Rom 8:26, “In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”

When we are in the sphere of the filling of the Holy Spirit, He is the instrument by which our prayers are effective.

The second half of this passage tells us of two other important aspects of our prayer life; “and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.

“And with this in view be on the alert,” in the Greek is simply, KAI EIS AUTO AGRUPNEO. KAI EIS AUTO means, “and with this thing or same thing.” In view” is added in the English translation for emphasis and understanding. This is a Prepositional phrase of “PURPOSE.” In other words, being filled with the Holy Spirit, we are to be praying for every occasion, including all categories of prayer; petitions, intercessory, imprecatory, thanksgiving, glorification, rebounding, etc.

Be on the alert,” is the Verb AGRUPNEO ἀγρυπνέω in the Present, Active, Participle, Nominative, Plural, that means, “keep oneself awake, be on the alert, or to be vigilant.” It is only used in Mark 13:33; Luke 21:36; Heb 13:17, and our verse. As you can see, this is not in the Imperative Mood for a command, but the word itself with its meaning virtually is a command to “stay awake, keep alert, etc.” Figuratively, it was used for, “to guard or care for,” as we should be diligent and mindful of our prayer life at all times, including the content of our prayers regarding God’s guidance and protection from Satan through His Armor that we put on. In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus admonishes us to be constantly alert with the notion of prayer.

Luke 21:36, “But keep on the alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

Paul also noted in Col 4:2, “Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving.”

A better translation of this section would be, “and into (i.e., regarding) this same thing, (i.e., prayers and petitions), be vigilant.”

Next, we have the emphasis for how we are to be vigilant in our prayer life, “with all perseverance and petition,” which in the Greek is EN PAS PROSKARTERESIS KAI DEESIS. This is another “HOW” Prepositional Phrase.

We noted DEESIS above, so petition prayer is in view once again, but here is added the Noun in the Dative of Manner case of PROSKARTERESIS, προσκαρτέρησις that means, “perseverance, continue to do something with intense effort, or devotion.” BDAG defines it as, “persistence in an undertaking or circumstance.” (A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature.)

The Noun is only used here in the NT; it is an hapaxlegomena. But the verb PROSKARTEREO that means, “to persist in or adhere to, or remain devoted to” is used 10 times in the NT, and 6 of those are regarding prayer, Acts 1:14; 2:42, 46; 6:4; Rom 12:12; Col 4:2.

The root word is KARTEREO that means, “persevere, be strong, endure, or be steadfast.” And in fact, TEREO means, “to watch carefully, guard, preserve, or protect.” With the prefix “PROS,” that means “with or face to face,” we see the emphasis of our prayer life to continue steadfastly in our petitions face to face with God the Father.

Rom 12:12, “Rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer.”

Acts 1:14, “These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.”

In addition, this third “all” in this passage, is a marker of the highest degree of something. It means, “to have the greatest,” that is, the greatest perseverance possible, along with the greatest petitions possible.

“Part of the spiritual warfare which the Christian has to wage in daily life is the prayer which must be constantly offered in faith. Prayer knits together all Christian Soldiers with a firm bond. It establishes the community in the power of God. The bond should not be broken. Indeed, it should become increasingly close. The roots should go deeper and deeper into the sphere of God’s life and power. To this end, there is need of persistence. Prayer is not just a pious exercise. It is serious work. It is part of the battle, of our spiritual warfare.” (Theological Dictionary of the New Testament)

And finally, we have the group we should be praying for,for all the saints, PERI PAS HO HAGIOS, in the Genitive case. In other words, “On whose behalf should we be praying?” The answer is, “all fellow believers.”

The preposition PERI means, “About, concerning, on account of, for, near, around.” Our prayers should not just be about our own warfare, but that of our fellow brethren. We should be constantly concerned about others’ spiritual walk, which should be reflected in our prayer life.

The Saints” is HO with the Adjective HAGIOS, ἅγιος in the Genitive case that means, “holy, consecrated, unapproachable, perfect, pure, upright, worthy of God, or saint.” Here it describes the position every believer stands in before the Lord. Therefore, our mental attitude towards our fellow believers should not be based on their experiential status as a sinner, but on the positional status as holy, righteous, and blameless before the Lord; fellows members of the family of God, fellow members of the body of Jesus Christ. When we view one another from the position we have in Christ, we always see Christ in each other and will love one another more, and more, and more, regardless of “who they are,” or “what they have done.” And in return, we will pray for each other, and pray for one another more diligently, as we should.

2 Thes 3:1, “Finally, brethren, pray for us that the word of the Lord may spread rapidly and be glorified, just as it did also with you. 2and that we will be rescued from perverse and evil men; for not all have faith.”

Therefore, because the proper attitude in battle is just as important as the proper equipment, Paul reminds us of the need for prayer and watchfulness in this spiritual conflict. Prayer must be “in the sphere of the Holy Spirit,” in order to be effective. “Praying” speaks of the necessity of always being in an attitude of prayer, of having a consistent prayer life. “Supplication” comes from a Greek term which relates to special times of need. If Christians truly practice prayer as a way of life, when the special times of need come, they will be prepared for them.

That is why having the proper mental attitude in this spiritual warfare cannot be overemphasized. It is dangerous to take a flippant attitude about something this serious. The conflict is a real one, the enemies are spiritual forces that are not limited to the physical realm, but God has provided sufficient necessary equipment and power for believers to be victorious in the battle. And with prayer, the whole thing works together for good. Therefore, the believer should be devoting himself to prayer, Acts 1:14; 2:42; 6:4; 12:5.

Acts 2:42, “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”

Acts 6:4, “But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” 

Acts 12:5, “So Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God.

Christians should first and foremost be people of prayer. You should be continually in prayer, 1 Thes 5:17, “Pray without ceasing,” realizing that Jesus’ words in Mark 11:24, “All things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they shall be granted you,” are true! Faith and confidence in God and His Word provide holy boldness before the Almighty.

When we pray for each other, we are fulfilling our corporate duty as professional Christians. We are “closing the ranks” as it were, regarding our collective spiritual warfare. Just as the Roman soldiers closed ranks and were arrayed for both defensive and offensive success, with prayer the full Armor of God closes our ranks and arrays our spiritual gifts inside the body of Christ for both defensive and offensive victory inside the Angelic Conflict.

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If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson:
#18-068 – 18-069

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A PERSONAL NOTE FOR YOU

If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I am here to tell you that Jesus loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. God the Father also loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you by sending Him to the Cross. At the Cross Jesus died in your place. Taking upon Himself all of your sins and all of my sins. He was judged for our sins and paid the price for our sins. Therefore, our sins will never be held against us.

Right where you are, you now have the opportunity to make the greatest decision in your life. To accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life by truly believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised on the third day as the proof of the promise of eternal life. So right now, you can pause and reflect on what Christ has done for you and say to the Father:

“Yes Father, I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ,
died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”

If you have done that, I Welcome You to the Eternal Family of God !!!

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