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Prayer and the Christian Soldier

In Ephesians 6:17a, the Apostle Paul exhorts the saints at Ephesus, as soldiers of Christ, to “Pray always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watch thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.” The preceding verses (10-16) are filled with instructions to “put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (vs.11). Prayer is the final admonishment that Paul gives the Christian soldier. Just as he instructs the soldier to be clothed with the girdle of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the gospel shoes, the shield of faith, the sword of the Spirit, and the helmet of salvation, he also instructs them to be clothed in prayer.  

There are two specific instructions regarding prayer that Paul passes onto the soldiers at Ephesus. They are: Pray for perseverance and boldness.  

Perseverance.  Fighting can make a soldier weary.  Wrestling with, fighting against principalities and powers, can wear a soldier down.  A tired, exhausted soldier is one that can be tempted to stop fighting.  Paul, the seasoned soldier, instructs and encourages the soldiers to persevere in prayer as well as in the good fight of the faith.  “Persist, stick to your job, keep on keeping on” are encouragements that we can hear the Apostle giving to the saints at Ephesus. Those of us who have been preserved by the Holy Spirit, must also make sure that we persevere in the fight.  Brothers and sisters, keep on praying for yourself and for all the saints.  Do not quit praying or fighting the good fight of faith!

Boldness.  It is a little odd that Paul requested prayer for boldness.  Yet he does, not once but twice in these verses. When I read the New Testament, I am hard pressed to find a more courageous soldier of Christ than Paul. Why would he request prayer for boldness? I think it is because in all of the instances of Paul’s boldness, each one was due to either his prayers or someone else praying for him, or a combination of both.  If the Apostle Paul needs prayer to be bold in his declaration of the gospel of Christ, how much more do you and I need to pray for boldness and to enlist our fellow soldiers to pray for us that we might be bold in this battle.    

Brothers and sisters the war is still on. It will not cease until the King of kings and Lord of lords comes again to put an end once and for all to sin and its misery. Until that day comes, we must daily suit up with the whole armor of God and immerse ourselves in prayer in order to stand against the enemy in this evil day.

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