Posts Tagged With: Paul

Is your Prayer Constant, Intense and Unselfish?


Today we will wrap up our study of Ephesians and look at Paul’s final words on prayer.

Ephesians 6:18-20

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

These verses immediately follow the passage on the armor of God and it is connected by the word ‘and’. William Barclay gives the best description of this passage. “Finally, Paul comes to the greatest weapon of all – and that is prayer. We must note three things that he says about prayer. (a) It must be constant. Our tendency is so often to pray only in the great crises of life; but it is from daily prayer that the Christian will find daily strength. (b) It must be intense. Limp prayer never got a man anywhere. Prayer demands the concentration of every faculty upon God. (c) It must be unselfish. The Jews had a saying, “Let a man unite himself with the community in his prayers.’ I think that often our prayers are too much for ourselves and too little for others. We must learn to pray as much for others and with others as for ourselves.”

“Finally, Paul asks for the prayers of his friends for himself. And he asks not for comfort or for peace but that he may yet be allowed to proclaim God’s secret, that his love is for all men. We do well to remember that every Christian leader and every Christian preacher needs his people to uphold his hands in prayer.”

Ephesians 6:21-24

21 Tychicus, the dear brother and faithful servant in the Lord, will tell you everything, so that you also may know how I am and what I am doing. 22 I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage you.

23 Peace to the brothers and sisters, and love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.

Paul tells the people He is sending someone else who will encourage them in their faith. He leaves them with the peace, love and undying love of Christ.

Which area do you need to bolster your prayer – its constancy, intensity or selflessness? Are you upholding you church leaders and pastors in prayer? As we approach the weekend, spend some time in prayer for your church community and its leaders. As we leave our study of Ephesians, I pray you have grown in your faith and pray you experience God’s peace, grace and undying love in your life and show it to those around you!


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Armor of God


Let’s take a look at the armor of God.

Ephesians 6:14-15

14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 

The first piece of the armor of God is the belt of truth. “The belt tied tightly around the waist indicated at the soldier was prepared for action.”1 The truth we are to tie around our waists is the truth of the gospel. We cannot be ready for battle until we know and understand the truth of the gospel. Who well do you know the truth of the gospel?

The second piece of armor is the breastplate of righteousness. It “covered the body from the neck to the thighs. It was known as a heart protector. In this context righteousness stands for uprightness and integrity of character. Our righteousness comes from Christ, it is not because of what we do but because of what He has done for us. Our hearts are to be protected by knowing where our righteousness comes from and wanting to live lives of integrity because of it.

The next piece of armor is the readiness of our feet. We are to be ready to share the gospel of piece and take it out to the world. When we understand the peace that comes form Christ, we can’t help but want to share it with others. Who have you shared the gospel with lately?

Ephesians 6:16-17

16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

When we face temptations from the enemy, it is our shield of faith that will extinguish them. We have to be firmly rooted in our faith and know how God wants us to live our lives and choose to follow His plans not our own or those we may be tempted to follow. When temptations come we can rely on our faith to help us withstand the temptations. The next piece of armor is the helmet of salvation. “‘Take’ is really receive or accept (dexasthe). The previous items were laid out for the soldier to pick up. The helmet and sword would be handed him by an attendant or by his armorbearer. The verb is appropriate to the ‘giveness’ of salvation.”

The final piece of armor is also the only offensive weapon. The word of God is the only offensive weapon we need. When Jesus was tempted by Satan in the desert, He responded to each temptation with a word from God. He did not argue or try to explain his position, He simply stated the word of God. When we face temptations and challenges, being able to recall Scripture is what will help us overcome and persevere. This is why it is so important for us to know the word of God for ourselves and even memorize it. Our sword won’t be very effective if we can’t recall any of God’s word in our times of trouble.

Paul calls for us to put on the full armor of God. Which part of the armor are you lacking today? What do you use as an offensive weapon? How sharp is your sword; how well do you know the word of God?



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Stand Firm


Today we look at what Paul says we are to do in battle with the enemy.

Ephesians 6:10-13

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood,but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  

Paul starts off this passage reminding us of where our strength comes from. Our strength comes from the Lord. When it comes to the devil, we must stand firm and rely on the strength the Lord provides us. Paul is speaking about struggles we have with the enemy. He says these struggles are not with people, but with the powers of evil. In order to battle evil, we must arm ourselves with the armor of God.

Paul talked earlier in Ephesians about these evil powers that we have to deal with on earth. It is hard for us to understand evil and the battles that take place outside of our sight and experience. However, Paul makes it clear that they exist. The focus of this passage is not us seeking out evil in order to battle it. Our job is to stand firm and rely on God’s power working in and through us.

In order for us to stand firm, we must know what God’s Word says, have an intimate relationship with Him and be connected to a body of believers. I think a lot of people put the focus of this passage on evil rather than the Lord and our job to be able to stand firm. To stand firm, we must know what God’s Word says for ourselves so we cannot be deceived by false teaching. Knowing what God says about how we are to live our lives and what is important to HIm will help us not be easily swayed by what others say and do. We need to spend time in prayer to know what God has to say about our lives. Being connected to a body of believers will help encourage, teach, convict and hold us accountable.

How well are you able to stand firm? Do you need to read, study and meditate on God’s Word more to be able to hold your ground? Would you benefit from being part of a body of believers? Being part of a body of believers means more than attending church on Sunday, it means really plugging in and serving. Are you plugged in to a community of faith and are you serving?

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How Do you Serve?

Everything we do should be done as if we were doing it for the Lord. Would that change the way you serve?

Ephesians 6:5-9

Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart.Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.

And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.

Regardless of who we are serving or what we are doing, we should serve wholeheartedly. There are authority structures in place where we have to submit and serve others. Paul is not condoning the system of slavery in this passage, but rather speaking to the need for believers to submit to authority structures. We all have to submit to someone, whether it be a parent, a spouse, a boss, etc. and when we do we are to serve with the right attitude.

It is hard for us to serve with a positive attitude when we don’t like the person we are serving or if we don’t like what we being asked to do. However, how we serve makes a difference to the Lord. As believers we are called to a high standard of attitude and action. We are to do everything as if we were doing it for the Lord. We don’t have to do it in our own strength, we can do it through the empowerment and guidance of the Holy Spirit dwelling within us.

Think back over your week, what did your service look like? Did you serve with the right attitude? Were your actions and efforts in line with someone who is serving wholeheartedly? Would you have made adjustments to your attitude, words, actions or effort if, instead of serving people, you realized you were serving Christ?

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Parenting is one of the hardest jobs in the world. Paul says it should be based on training our children in the Lord.

Ephesians 6:4

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

As with all other relationships we have looked at throughout the book of Ephesians, Paul reminds us to bring in the Lord. In doing so, we are to bring our children “up in the training and instruction of the Lord”. The Greek word for ‘training’ is ‘paideia’ and it means “to instruct”. “It also carries the implication of chastening or discipline, because effective instruction often includes discipline and correction. The Greek word for ‘instruction’ is ‘nouthesia’ which means “an admonition, warning , exhortation”.  “nouthesia is any word of encouragement or reproof which leads to correct behavior.

Paul is suggesting parenting is a balance of encouragement and discipline in order to get our children to behave. It is not only encouragement and it is not only discipline, but a balance of the two. Children who are raised with only encouragement with no discipline can become unruly and those raised with only discipline with no encouragement may have their spirits broken. Both training and instruction are to be “in the Lord”. The Lord should be at the center of our relationships with our children.

Deuteronomy 6:6-7

 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

Notice when the teaching of God’s ways are to take place, when you sit, when you walk, when you lie down, when you get up. Basically, instructing our children in the Lord is to happen all the time. It is not something we can pass off onto the Sunday school teachers and expect them to teach our children. As parents, we are responsible to teach our children to know and love the Lord and to know His ways. It isn’t something that simply happens as we take them to church on Sunday but occurs every minute of everyday.

Our children watch us and we need to make sure we are following the way of the Lord so they can learn by our example. We need to teach our children to read the Word of God and know what He says about how we are to live our lives. What we do on a daily basis will have an impact on our children’s spiritual growth.

Proverbs 22:6

Start children off on the way they should go,
    and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

Are you training and instruction your children in the Lord? Are you modeling prayer and reading His Word daily? Do you share with your children what the Lord is doing in your life? Is the spiritual development of your children part of your daily life?

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