Pray in the Spirit at all times with every kind of prayer and request there is. For the same reason be alert with every kind of effort and request for all the saints.Ephesians 6:18
Has Paul finished with the armour, and therefore prayer belongs to another realm or is it part of the armour?
Paul doesn’t put prayer with the armour. If he had intended us to think of it as part of the armour he would have linked it to some particular piece of armour. But he didn’t do that. Therefore we must conclude that his account of the armour finishes with the sword. Having armoured the soldier Paul now shows him the necessity of praying, that he may successfully resist those principalities, powers, the rulers of the darkness of this world, and the spiritual wickednesses in heavenly places. It was the custom of ancient armies to offer prayers to the gods for their success, before they went to battle. It would be well for the soldier who goes forth to battle to pray – to pray for victory; or to pray that he may be prepared for death, should he fall. But soldiers do not often feel the necessity to do this. To the Christian soldier, however, it is indispensable. Prayer crowns all lawful efforts with success and gives a victory when nothing else would. No matter how complete the armour; no matter how skilled we may be in the science of war; no matter how courageous we may be, we may be certain that without prayer we shall be defeated. God alone can give the victory; and when the Christian soldier goes forth armed completely for the spiritual conflict, if he looks to God by prayer, he may be sure of a triumph.
Interesting that Paul says: Praying ALL: ALways, ALL kinds, for ALL saints. Today we will just deal with the “always” part.
How do you pray always?
If you stop and think about this you would realize you can’t pray all the time. If you prayed all the time you would not get much else done. It could not be focused prayer where you devoted yourself to praying and nothing else. Or you would become like the modern day version of Praying Hyde.
A survey of the versions yields the following usage:
- (AMP) Pray at all times (on every occasion, in every season)
- (ASV) praying at all seasons
- (CEV) Never stop praying,
- (GNB) Pray on every occasion,
- (GW) Pray in the Spirit in every situation.
- (ISV) Pray in the Spirit at all times
- (KJV) Praying always
- (LITV) praying at all times
- (MSG) In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.
The most prevalent usage is at all times. Take the time to think about your prayer life. I love the translation by Eugene Peterson in the Message.
Prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Don’t be caught fighting in your own strength. Use His. Pray hard and long. Keep your eyes open.Ephesians 6:18
That is actually Eugene’s translation equivalent of “be alert”. He is not saying you must pray with your eyes open. Some have a problem with praying with their eyes open. Parents and teachers tell kids to close their eyes. But nowhere in the Bible does it tell us to do that. It is ok to pray with your eyes open. I do it lots. Lightening hasn’t struck me yet. And helps in praying on more occasions than if I had to have my eyes shut. Think about it.
The sense of the Greek is more appropriately “in every season” or opportunity or occasions. Most translators opt for “pray at all times” rather than “all the time”. It removes the sense of “constant” and tends more toward the idea of opportunity yet maintains the concept of “all time(s)“. Adding the “s” in English adds indefiniteness and removes the sense of “always”, “all time”.
It is interesting that Paul uses the same words Jesus uses in Luke 21:36. But in this case the all times is applied to the alertness and not the praying. Compare Luke 18:1; Rom 12:12; 1Thess 5:17. But none of these verses actually teaches us to pray ALL THE TIME or ALWAYS. Praying without ceasing requires us to be in an attitude or prayer or a prayer mode that is not total absorption at the conscious level. Think about it.
Enough said, more in the next Gem.
Action without prayer is arrogance; prayer without action is hypocrisy.Jose Zayas
Prayer and praise are to the Christian as the two wings are to the bird. Don’t expect the bird to fly if one wing is broken.J. Wesley Adcock
Groanings which cannot be uttered are often prayers which cannot be refused.C H Spurgeon
If your day is hemmed in with prayer, it is less likely to come unraveled.Anon