Parkland First Baptist Church
November 21, 2021
      • 1 John 5:13CSB

      • Habakkuk 1–3ESV

      • Jeremiah 41–45ESV

      • Jeremiah 46–48ESV

      • Jeremiah 49–50ESV

      • Jeremiah 51ESV

  • Prayer In The Midst Of The Battle

    Today we conclude our study through Ephesians.
    The message of the book could easily be divided into two parts.
    Our position - Who we are in Christ.
    We read about how God, in His glorious grace, saves sinners through Jesus Christ.
    The focus was what God has done for us.
    Our Practice - How we are to live in Christ
    We saw that we must now pursue unity and purity in Christ
    The finally, we must now pursue submissiveness and stability in Christ.
    In previous weeks, we have seen that we are in a spiritual battle with a powerful, evil, lying, scheming enemy - Satan
    Last week we saw the armor God has given to us to fight those battles.
    Today we are going to look at how to stand firm through prayer.
    Prayer isn’t anything physical like a piece of armor.
    Best way to illustrate it is in modern times our military has radios or walkie-talkies.
    Prayer is the way we get instructions and request for help in the midst of the battle.
    It plugs us into the energy needed to stand against the enemy.
    We cannot fight our battle in our own power, no matter how strong or talented we may think we are.
    Do you remember when Amalek attacked Israel, Moses went to the top of a mountain to pray.
    It was his intercession on the mountain and Joshua’s sword in the valley that enable Israel to defeat Amalekites.
    Prayer is the power for victory.
    Paul turns to how with the armor and the sword of the Spirit we can strength to fight.
    Ephesians 6:18–24 CSB
    18 Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints. 19 Pray also for me, that the message may be given to me when I open my mouth to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel. 20 For this I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I might be bold enough to speak about it as I should. 21 Tychicus, our dearly loved brother and faithful servant in the Lord, will tell you all the news about me so that you may be informed. 22 I am sending him to you for this very reason, to let you know how we are and to encourage your hearts. 23 Peace to the brothers and sisters, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Grace be with all who have undying love for our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Spirit-Directed Prayer V. 18

    The first element of the prayer Paul is talking about is Spirit-directed.
    The formula for our prayer is that we pray to the Father, through the Son, and in the Spirt.
    Romans 8:26-27 says, “In the same way the Spirit also helps us in our weakness, because we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us, with inexpressible groanings. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because he intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”
    Here we that the Holy Spirit prays for us and also join us in our praying.
    When we pray in the Spirit two things happens.
    The HS tells what we ought to pray for - according to God’s will.
    On our own, our prayers are limited to our finite knowledge, reason, and intuition.
    The HS’s help moves us to a higher plain.
    He will use the word of God to recall God’s ways as we pray.
    He also will settle certain thins in our hearts to pray for with the conviction that they are God’s will.
    That way we are praying in faith.
    The second thing that happens the Spirit provides the energy needed for prayer, energizing tired, sick, depressed people to pray with power and conviction for God’s work.
    So how do we pray in the Spirit?
    Start recognizing the Spirit and His help.
    Listen to Him before you begin your prayers.
    You may have a list, but pray for those things.
    But as the Holy Spirit brings new items to mind, pray for them.

    Continual Prayer

    In verse 18, we are told to pray at all times.
    That means to pray continually.
    As we are told in 1 Thess. 5:17, “Pray without ceasing”
    This was the practice of the apostles where we are told in Acts 1:14, “They all were continually united in prayer, along with the women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.”
    Is it possible to carry on constant dialogue with God?
    You may think, I can’t pray when I’m working.
    But continual prayer is not so much about words, but the position of the heart.
    The medieval monk Brother Lawrence recounts his experience of this in his book “The Practice of the Presence of God”
    “The time of business does not differ with me from the time of prayer; and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great tranquillity as if I were on my knees.”
    John Wesley wrote, “His heart is ever lifted up to God, at all times and in all places. In this he is never hindered, much less interrupted, by any person or thing. In retirement or company, in leisure, business, or conversation, his heart is ever with the Lord. Whether he lie down or rise up, God is in all his thoughts; he walks with God continually, having the loving eye of his mind still fixed upon Him, and everywhere “seeing him that is invisible.”
    Paul wants to live like these two men.
    God’s will for us is for us to a dialogue, sometimes secret, with God no matter what we are doing.
    Especially when you feel tempted and attacked by our enemy.

    Varied Prayer

    Did you know there is more than one to pray?
    There are prayers, supplication, intercession, and thanksgiving.
    If you are only asking for things, you are missing out of so many blessings as you intercede for others and give thanks to God.
    Thanksgiving is a great prayer weapon for defeating Satan.
    Intercession can bring victory in someone else’s life.
    What ever the situation you are in, pray the appropriate way.

    Persistent Prayer

    Paul says to “stay alert with all perseverance”
    That means keep on praying.
    At stick to it and not quit type of praying.
    It doesn’t mean we are trying to twist God’s arm, but it means we are so concerned about the topic of our prayers we won’t quit until we get an answer.
    Jesus is the Sermon on the Mount told His followers to be persistent in pursuit of spiritual things.
    “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7).
    Jesus’ wording is unusual because He uses three verbs (ask, seek, and knock) indicate an ascending intensity.
    “Ask” implies requesting assistance for a conscious need.
    We realize our lack and thus ask for help.
    The word also suggests humility in asking, for it is commonly used of one asking a superior.
    The next step, “seek,” involves asking, but adds action.
    The idea is not just to express our need, but to get up and look around for help.
    It involves effort.
    The final step, “knock,” includes asking plus persevering — like someone who keeps pounding on a closed door!
    The stacking of these words is extremely forceful, and the fact that they are present imperatives gives them even more punch.
    The text actually reads: “Keep on asking, and it shall be given to you; keep on seeking, and you shall find; keep on knocking, and it shall be opened to you.”

    Intercessory Prayer

    Paul wants us to pray for each other, the believers, the saints.
    There are many things to pray for.
    One of them should be each other.
    We are a family after all as Paul indicated earlier in the book.
    Remember Jesus, said “Our Father...” not “My Father..”
    As co-heirs with Christ we have access to the Father.
    But he wants us to pray for our brothers and sisters.
    If my prayers help another believer defeat Satan, then that victory will strengthen me.
    This was so important, that he requested that they would pray for him.
    All saints included himself.
    If he needed prayer, I know I do.
    He also didn’t ask for his comfort of safety, but for the effectiveness of his witness and ministry.
    Do you pray for others in the church? For their witness and ministry?

    A Word Of Encouragement Verses 21-24

    As Paul concludes his letter, we are reminded of where he is - in prison.
    He sends a dear brother known to them to bring this letter to them, since he is prevented from coming on his own.
    He loves the people and again encourages them.
    His benediction
    Paul ends with the letter with these words: peace, love, faith, and grace.
    Imagine his is a prisoner is Rome and yet he was in a better position than the emperor of Roman empire.
    No matter what condition we are in, we can always know that in Christ we are “blessed with all spiritual blessings!”
    Prayer
      • Ephesians 6:18–24CSB

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