Ephesians 6:18-24

Lesson 13: Ephesians 6:18-24 Turning the World Upside Down ( Acts 17:6)

Paul began this section with these instructions:  “ Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”  ( Ephesians 6:10,11)

In our last lesson we looked at the schemes or strategies of the enemy and we looked at each piece of armor.  Paul has carefully and systematically instructed us of all the resources we have in the Lord.. Having told us of what we possess and how we came to possess it- Paul tells us we have good works we are to walk in that God has ordained. Throughout the scriptures we are called to action being compared to fighters, runners, seekers of holiness, making every effort, etc.,.  Faith is a verb- believing God is more than submission it is taking action.  Read Hebrew 11 again- it is evident we are to take action.  As we read :  By faith Abel made a more excellent sacrifice;  by faith Abraham went out….by faith Noah built an ark.. and so on through out scripture goes the story of faith. “you believe there is one God. Good! The demons believe that and shudder. Faith without works is dead.” James 2: 19, 26b

Peter tell us the following: “ His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him, who called us by His own glory and goodness. Through these He has given us His very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires ( lusts.)  {2 Peter 1:3-4)  God has equipped us for that which He commands us to do. But there are actions that must be taken on our part. Listen carefully to what our part is as Peter continues:  “ For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive.”(2 Peter 1: 5-8)

Do you see our responsibilities? Knowledge. Study to show yourself approved. Then Peter gives us a list and tells us to make every effort to add to our faith lest we be ineffective and unproductive. We are to be increasing-growing. There are no plateaus.  

So Paul is clear in this section as he tells us first- what is the source of our power- the Lord. What we are to do: put on the full armor; take our stand against the devil; understand the schemes of the devil and the having done  all this—pray. Prayer releases the power of God.

Interesting the first piece of armor to put on was the belt of truth. If we are to stand- we must stand on and in the truth. Beginning with the truth that we are to reckon, count as true that we are dead to sin and alive unto God. That sin is no longer our master-and we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

Prayer is where we enter the battle. Every thing up to this point has been in order to stand against the enemy. The armor is provided  for our prayer life. Prayer is where the battle is. It is the chief strategy. That is why Jesus said we should always pray and faint not- not give up.  So let us carefully analyze Paul’s instructions as how we ought to pray.  Remember the only time the disciples requested the Lord teach them on a specific subject was to teach them how to pray.
Consider the following truths:

  • Prayer can do anything God can do- and nothing is impossible for God.
  • To pray well, one must first study God’s word and store it in their memory and thoughts.
  • The Word of God is the support or fulcrum on which the lever of prayer is placed. No fulcrum- no leverage.
  • Prayers do not die- they outlive the lives of those who prayed them.
  • The prayers of God’s people strengthen the unborn generation against sin and evil
  • God shapes the world by prayer
  • Jesus said of the church- ‘my Father’s house is a house of prayer.’

Listen to God’s Word :  “ Ask of me and I will make the nations your inheritance and the ends of the earth your possession.: ( Psalms 2:8)

Did you see the condition?  ASK OF ME.

“ Ask and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you.” ( Matthew 7:7)    All three of these verbs refer to prayer. We ask in prayer, we seek in prayer we knock in persistent prayer. Pray always and faint not.
“Call on me and I (God) will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” ( Jeremiah 33:3)
Remember the Word of God is the fulcrum on which the lever of  prayer is placed. The word of God and prayer are inseperable. So we can conclude if the Word of God is the fulcrum on which my prayer is placed- then prayer actually begins in heaven where the Word of God originates. In His Word  my Heavenly Father tells me what He will and will not do. It begins with His promises. Our Heavenly Father will no more give us, His children, anything we ask for than an earthly father would give his children anything they asked for. Both know this could cause more harm than good even to the point of great danger. So what we can be sure of is if we ask according to His Will and His Great Promises it will be done. ( In His perfect timing.)
Jesus said:” if you abide in me, and MY WORDS ABIDE IN YOU, you shall ask what you will and it shall be done unto you.” John 15:7  Is that not an amazing statement?  The Word of God is the support, the fulcrum on which we place the lever of prayer and thereby move things. God has committed Himself, His Purpose and His promises to prayer. And who prays for us?  The Lord Jesus Himself, our High Priest intercedes for us. Who else?  The Holy Spirit groans for us, when we do not know how to pray. So here is the picture :  our prayers are the lever placed upon the fulcrum of the Word of God, they are pressed down with faith but also we are not alone in our efforts- for the Lord Jesus Himself and the Holy Spirit are guiding us in truth, aligning our will with His and His Word.  Prayer based on His Word coupled with loving obedience is the key.
Archimedes once said if he had a fulcrum large enough and a lever long enough and a place to stand outside the earth- he could move the world. Our fulcrum is the Word of God, our lever is prayer and we stand in heaven where we are seated in the Lord Jesus. Therefore- we can move the world through our effective, fervent prayers. This is the method and the power we have to do as was spoken of Paul and the apostles to “ turn the world upside down.” ( Acts 17:6)
Doing God’s will – having His Word abiding in us is a necessity for effective prayer. And how do we know God’s will? By studying His Word; by hiding it in our hearts; and letting the Word dwell richly in us through the process of meditation.. In addition we must be filled with His Spirit. To be filled with His Spirit and filled with His Word  will lead us to know God’s will and pray with power and assurance that we are promised in I John 5:14, 15.
So let us now look at the instructions on how we are to pray once clad in the armor and standing firm.

“ Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.” Ephesians 6:18 (KJV)
“ 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.” ( NIV)
Look at the frequency of prayer:  Always.

Look at the types and variety of prayer:  all prayer and supplication or petitions

Notice the source of  power and direction for our prayers- in the Spirit in sync with His Word.

Notice also our attitude- watchfulness .  Watch and pray lest you fall into temptation.

Look at the mindset- perseverance- pray and faint not- don’t  give up.

Who do we pray for: all the saints.
Prayer is a conversation with our Heavenly Father. Here the Apostle Paul gives us two categories of prayer: (1.) All prayer and (2) supplication or petition. All prayer is the broadest category and supplication is a specific request. Remember what James said: “ You have not because you ask not.: (James 4:2)
Paul writes in Philippians 4 : “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your requests to God. And the peace of God which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and your  minds in Christ Jesus.”
In these verse we see three principles involved in prayer:

  1. Worry about nothing.
  2. Pray about everything
  3. Result is the peace of God which passes understanding  will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.


Let’s take each principle:

Worry about nothing- do not be anxious. How can we keep from worrying when there are things to worry about?  There is a difference between worry and legitimate concerns. We are not to worry because Jesus told us worry was not productive. “Therefore do not worry about your life…” ( Matthew 6:25)  He reminded us our Heavenly Father takes care of the birds – and if He takes care of the birds, how much more will He care for you- His Own Children. In fact, Jesus said seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness and all the things we need will be added. ( Matthew 6:33)  Worry, which can only make matters worse and never solve the problem is counterproductive and harmful. Worry comes from the flesh and from circumstances in this world that makes us fearful. Fear is the opposite of faith. The Lord has not given us a spirit of fear.( 2 Timothy) We must put on the armor and capture those thoughts – those fiery darts of doubt.( 2 Cor. 10) Lift up the shield of faith. For God is our shield.
This brings us to this second principle- don’t worry- pray about everything with thanksgiving. Remembering in Paul’s instructions we are to be strong in the Lord and the power of His might- we are to stand recognizing the schemes of the enemy and we are to put on the armor. Certain parts of the armor are never taken off- the belt of truth; the breastplate of His Righteousness and the shoes which are the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  We then take up the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. These are ever ready to be taken up as we have stored them in our hearts and mind to be quickly taken up at the point of attack. Praying about everything means  exactly that—every thing. If the Lord knows the number of hairs on our heads- believe me, He is into details. Whatever concerns you- concerns Him. Take note this prayer regarding your concerns is lifted up to Him with thanksgiving. We thank Him before we know the outcome- for the outcome is now in His Hands. “We enter His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all the generations” ( Psalm 100)
The third principle is actually the result of turning your worry into a prayer which results in this peace which passes understanding. A peace that does not come necessarily from having the problem solved or the circumstances changed but comes from having our hearts and minds guarded by God. This peace comes when we cast all our cares upon Him- who cares for us.
When we pray we are saying by the very fact of praying we believe God is listening. This reveals we believe in an invisible kingdom. When we pray we also reveal we have confidence in God and His Kingdom. We believe that what is happening in the visible world is directly related to what is happening in the invisible world. But it also reveals we believe our prayers play a direct role in the working of God in the visible world today.  So as Paul reminded us in 2 Cor. 4- things are not what they seem. The visible is temporary and the invisible is eternal. That is why  we keep our eyes and mind on things above, the unseen.
So we pray in the Spirit on ALL occasions.  We are commanded numerous times through out Scripture to pray always. I believe this type of continuous prayer comes from a conscious awareness of God at all times. It means we constantly set our minds on things above. The ultimate purpose for which God saved us was to glorify God, for this is the chief end of man. But it was also to bring us into a close, intimate fellowship with God. Listen to John (1John) “We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and the Son, Jesus Christ.” We can experience this fellowship here and now and prayer is a part of the privilege. And just as He did with Adam and Eve- you and I  can come to the garden of prayer and devotion and experience that rich fellowship where He walks with me and talks with me and tells me I am His own…and the Love we share is like no other.

Pray in the Spirit means we pray in the name of Christ – prayers consistent with His nature and His will. Praying in the Spirit also means we pray in concert with the Spirit who guides us in truth and helps us pray when we do not know how to pray.
All kinds of prayers means exactly that a variety of prayers that include:   prayers of adoration, love, thanksgiving, confession, petition, and praise.
Also mentioned separately are prayers of supplication, or petition  which involves specific requests. A specific requests can be for one’s self or others. It can be based on a promise or a principle or it may be simply expressing a desire for something and you ask your Father to give you- just as a child would ask their parent. Sometimes a child asks for things that are not good for them even harmful and no earthly father would give them those things, neither would our Heavenly Father. As we mature as Christians- we learn to put away childish things- things James said we ask for amiss that we might consume them ourselves. We realize our greatest needs are spiritual rather than physical. Although we can and should ask for our physical needs. But be careful not to confuse a need with a desire.
In Romans 15:30-33 we see Paul asks the believers to join him in his struggle by praying to God. He then makes three specific requests for : his safety ; his service and that he could come to visit them. ( All three were granted)  But notice in intercession petitions we join others in their struggle
We are then told to be alert, on guard. The enemy is a deceiver and Paul’s repeated prayer through out his epistles is that we have the eyes of our heart opened- that we have spiritual understanding  so we can comprehend what life is really about. This also indicates the deceiver is able to veil our minds and blind us to the truth.
In regard to perseverance, Jesus gave two parables in Luke. One  in Luke 11 regarding the persistent neighbor  who came late at night and the widow who came seeking justice from a non-caring judge in Luke 18. The teaching of both of these parable is as follows:  if a man will get up out of his bed to quiet a persistent neighbor and give him what he asks for, how much more will your Heavenly Father give you.  And if an apathetic judge will grant a persistent  widow her request- will not a sympathetic God bring about justice for His chosen ones who cry out day and night?  Of course He will. What we need is the faith that will keep us persistent even when the enemy continues to fire his darts of doubt, worry and fear at us.
Then Paul instructs us  to pray for all saints.  Are we not to pray for  the lost, our enemies, our government? Of course we are. But remember the context of  this portion of the letter – this is to believers and how we are to pray in spiritual battle- so this prayer is for Christians engaged in spiritual warfare.
Paul ends with a request for the believers at Ephesus. He does not pray for his physical needs or a change  in his circumstances ( he is in jail). He prays for boldness when he opens his mouth that he would fearlessly proclaim the gospel.  Which leads one to believe Paul was tempted to keep quiet about Christ. He wanted help in his battle. If Paul requested prayer for boldness to speak the truth- one would conclude we also need help in proclaiming the gospel. Paul knew also as a leader, as a shepherd, the enemy would go after the shepherd to scatter the sheep. We must pray for those in leadership positions in our church.
Paul closes with this benediction prayer:
Peace to the brothers, and love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace to all who love  our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.
“I’ve  joined he new “Don’t Worry Club”.

And now I hold my breath;

I’m so scared I’m going to worry

That I am worried half to death.”