October is considered by many Christians as one of the biggest spiritual warfare months of the year. Spiritual warfare often ramps up during this month because of the emphasis on haunted houses, horror movies, witchcraft, and other activities or events that promote fear, ungodliness, demonic stuff, etc. So, we tell our Staff and Leaders at Celebration that we have to strengthen our prayer life every October if we don’t want to be overcome by the works of the Devil and his followers.
One way to learn how to become a better prayer warrior is to study the prayers of great individuals in the Bible – people like the Apostle Paul. We find a number of Paul’s prayers in the New Testament, and one of those prayers is found in Ephesians 3:14-21 where Paul prayed for his friends in Ephesus when they seemingly were going through a very difficult time.
Paul prayed – “I pray that from His (God’s) glorious, unlimited resources He will give you mighty inner strength through His Holy Spirit. And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in Him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love. And may have you have the power to understand . . . how wide, how long, how high and how deep His love really is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” (Ephesians 3:16-19 NLT)
There are several things we can learn from Paul’s prayer. First, we can learn about one of the postures of prayer. Paul wrote in Ephesians 3:14 that he fell to his knees when he prayed for the Ephesian believers. We don’t have to kneel to pray, but it is a good way to help us focus and concentrate on the Lord and the intent of our prayers and to acknowledge our reverence for and dependence upon the Lord. Abraham Lincoln once said, “I have often been driven to my knees in prayer by the realization that I had nowhere else to go.” D.L. Moody said, “The Christian on his knees sees more than the philosopher on his tiptoes.” Someone else wrote, “Satan trembles when he sees the weakest Christian on his knees.”
We also learn from Paul’s prayer about the purpose of prayer. He prayed for encouragement and enablement for the Ephesian Christians – that they would receive “mighty inner strength” from the Holy Spirit. He prayed that those Christians would have fresh encounters with Jesus and new experiences with God’s love – “that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts” and “may your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love.” Paul also prayed that those believers would experience enrichment and empowerment in their lives – “then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” If someone asked you what you would like for them to pray for in regards to you and your life circumstances, you would probably want them to pray for encouragement, enablement, new encounters with Jesus, enrichment, and empowerment for you and others around you.
Paul basically prayed for the Ephesians that they would be strengthened by God’s Spirit (Ephesians 3:16), submitted to God’s Son (Ephesians 3:17), and saturated by God’s love (Ephesians 3:17-19). We need to pray daily for those same three characteristics to continually be found in our lives and others’ lives.