through all prayer and petition, praying at all times in the Spirit, and watching to this same thing with all perseverance and petition concerning all the saints.Ephesians 6:18
You have to take particular note of how the element “To that end / to this same thing” fits into the sense of the whole passage. Many translations choose to omit this phrase altogether. The others include it as I listed for you in the previous Gem:
- to that end, keep alert with all perseverance . . .
- Being watchful to this same thing with all perseverance and petition concerning all the saints
- for this reason keep alert and never give up.
- for the same reason be alert
- in the same way
- and with this in view,
- watching for this purpose
It is a link between praying in the Spirit with all kinds of prayer and being alert and praying for all saints. In other words in short Paul is saying, You need to pray in all the ways you can, focused on this battle you are in. In so doing, in the same way, be diligent and persevering to intercede and petition for all the saints. Don’t just cover this battle in pray for yourself but cover the body as well. We are in this together and should care what happens to the body. I ought to care what is happening to my fellow Christian brother and sister in this battle. A soldier is taught to look after his comrade. To go back for a fallen or a wounded mate. If at all possible leave no one behind after the battle. We go into this battle together and we come out of it, if at all possible, together as well.
Notice the repetition of “petitioning”. We ought to be praying at times in the Spirit petitioning God for what it is that we require. In the same way petition and persevere in the petitioning for our fellow comrades. As Paul writes in Galatians 6:1 ff “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin [as a result of the consequence of being in this war – Ian’s addition] you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself. Or you too may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens . . .” If one of your mates is wounded carry his pack and him if necessary. Be a true soldier and look after your comrades around you.
I like the way Eugene Peterson handles it in the Message version.
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.Ephesians 6:18
You can see at a glance that he has not stuck laboriously to the original text word for word. But he has skilfully preserved the battle focus and maintained Paul’s comments in a military context of looking after your comrade. The notion of interdependence carries on here. We are all to look out for one another and not just think of ourselves alone.
To what end? To the purpose of being a soldier in the army of Christ and staying alert in order to look after the others in the squad. Your duty is to get the other members of your team home as well.Ian Vail
A good exercise for your heart is to bend down and help another up!Rick Godwin
One word or a pleasing smile is often enough to raise up a saddened & wounded soul.Therese of Lisieux
If I make it to heaven before you do, you’ll see me waiting on you. I’ll be the one in the stands, starting the wave.Rick Warren
Every soldier must know, before he goes into battle, how the little battle he is to fight fits into the larger picture, and how the success of his fighting will influence the battle as a whole.Bernard Montgomery