New Hope UMC

Lessons 16: Prevailing through Prayer (6:18-24) Spiritual Warfare and Struggle

February 21, 2019

Key Verse. 

“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 saints.” (Ephesians 6:18)

This is the final lesson in this study of Paul's Letter to the Ephesians. It is perhaps fitting that it is about prayer. Paul is in a tight spot himself, imprisoned and awaiting removal to Rome where he would stand trial in front of Nero. He asks the Ephesians to pray for him. But first he advises on the reason and method of prayer. Continuing his thoughts on evil, he reminds us of the struggle against those spiritual forces. We are to pray "in the Spirit" for all kinds of prayers and requests. Wilson points out that to pray effectively, we need God's help. Could that be a reason so many struggle with a prayer life? We must seek God's help through the spirit, even in prayer. 

We are to be "alert" and "persevere". Children, do not let your minds wander. Many of us have found that a quiet time in a quiet place is best for prayer. We close our eyes, kneel at times, all of these designed to focus completely on God and ignore distractions.  

Paul requests that they  pray for him. (verses 19-20). He is in prison but he is also that he may declare the word of the Gospel fearlessly and with boldness. He describes himself as an "ambassador in chains". He will represent the King of Kings in Rome.

He then advises that he is sending Tychicus, a dear brother and faithful minister, to them with the letter. He closes with a benediction of peace, grace and love.   

  

Discussion questions. 

Discussion question 1. (Ephesians 6:18) Why is prayer vital to spiritual warfare? What does it mean to “pray in the Spirit”?

Discussion question 2. (Ephesians 6:18b) Why is alertness in prayer vital to success in spiritual warfare? How is perseverance in prayer important to success? Why do we need this exhortation?

Discussion question 3. (Ephesians 6:19) Why would Paul request prayer for boldness? Why is boldness necessary in war? What is the opposite of boldness? What happens if this is our accustomed life-posture?

Discussion question 4. (Ephesians 6:20) Developing this analogy of an ambassador in a foreign land...  What nation has sovereignty over the embassy and its property? Who does the ambassador represent? What responsibilities does he or she have? How do these relate to being an ambassador of Christ?