Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints. Pray also for me, so that when I speak a message may be given to me to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it boldly, as I must speak.
I like the way the updated edition of the NRSV (to come out in hard copy in August) does not separate the part on prayer from the spiritual warfare part preceding it, which I think is an improvement. Prayer is most certainly a part of spiritual warfare, and ongoing prayer as the text tells us, at that.
We can easily and actually I think are quite prone to underestimate the importance of prayer. But the spiritual enemy does not. They do all they can to stop us from praying. I think Martin Luther pointed out that it’s not a matter of us not having enough time to pray, but that one’s “too busy not to pray.”
I have so much to do today that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.
Always persevering in supplication for all the saints is simply a matter of staying at it no matter what. We keep praying for others even when we feel such praying seems to be in vain. This is part of the spiritual warfare passage, what we’re to do to stand in that spiritual battle ourselves, as well as how we’re to help each other.
And somehow, we can easily slip into the falsehood of seeing Paul as some kind of semi-divine being. He was every bit as human as the rest of us, and every bit as much in need of prayers. Especially given his assignment and what he was up against. It would require an effort of the church to hold him up through prayers. And we must do the same for all the women and men servants who are as it were on the frontline. In need of our support just as much as Paul was.
No. We can’t let up. When we do we’ll soon find out that we can’t. For our own sake even, as well as for the sake of each other. In and through Jesus.