Respondents to research done by the Barna Group were asked whether they had prayed to God in the previous week. In Barna’s 2017 Cities report, this data was used to identify the most prayerful city in America as Augusta-Aiken, Georgia, where 98 percent said they had prayed in the past week. The least prayerful city was Springfield-Holyoke, Massachusetts, at 53 percent. The national average was 78 percent.
Praying in the Spirit is an essential activity that accompanies putting on the armor of God (v. 18). After all, how can we expect to draw on God’s strength unless we’re in constant communication with Him? As has been true throughout Ephesians, we don’t pray on our own but in the Spirit. He intercedes on our behalf, always “in accordance with the will of God” (Rom. 8:26–27).
When is the right time for prayer? “On all occasions.” How should we pray? “With all kinds of prayers and requests.” For whom should we pray? “For all the Lord’s people”—the household of faith. In what way should we pray? Alertly. Peter similarly wrote: “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). How often should we pray? “Always keep on praying.” This phrase indicates that persistence in prayer is important. Prayer should permeate all our attitudes and activities. It is an essential part of a life of worship!
Paul gave the Ephesians an immediate opportunity to do this by requesting prayer for himself (vv. 19–20). Perhaps surprisingly, he didn’t ask for release from prison but for evangelistic boldness and courage. He accepted being an “ambassador in chains” as long as God continued to enable him to “fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel.”
Pray today with your eyes open! Perhaps you’ve always been taught to pray with your eyes closed, but for some, that can too easily lead to a drifting minds. Therefore, if we desire to pray alertly and attentively, we might need to open our eyes to do it. Whatever you choose to do, may your prayer time today be richly blessed!