TEXT: Ephesians 6:18-20
18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,
20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
We are in a series of messages titled “Praying Through the Bible: A Series on Every Passage and Verse Regarding Prayer in the Bible.” The purpose of this series is to encourage and motivate you to pray to the God of the Bible. We highlighted each of these over 500 verses and passages in the Prayer Motivator Devotional Bible. So far, we have completed 289 messages in this series.
This is message #290 titled, How to Win at Spiritual Warfare Through Prayer, Part 14.
As we have considered the types of prayer that we should employ in spiritual warfare, we have discussed: the prayer of faith, the prayer of agreement, the prayer of request or supplication, the prayer of intercession, the prayer of thanksgiving, the prayer of worship, and the prayer of consecration. Today, we will look at another type of prayer — the private prayer.
Jesus often prayed alone. For example, in Matthew 14:23, “When he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.”
Mark 1:35 says, “And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.”
In Matthew 6:5-8, Jesus says, “And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.”
C.H. Spurgeon said, “A prayerless church member is a hindrance. He is in the body like a rotting bone or a decayed tooth. Before long, since he does not contribute to the benefit of his brethren, he will become a danger and a sorrow to them. Neglect of private prayer is the locust which devours the strength of the church.”
All prayer, if done in the right spirit as to God alone, is, in a way, private prayer. It is communication solely between the person praying and God. It is not done for the observance of others. However, Jesus Christ taught and practiced the value and power of private prayer. In Matthew 6:6 He said, “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret.” Arthur Pink said, “Private prayer is the test of our sincerity, the index to our spirituality, the principle means of growing in grace. Private prayer is the one thing, above all others, which Satan seeks to prevent — for he knows full well that if he can succeed at this point, the Christian will fail at every other point.”
Are you prevailing in private prayer? Is it easy? No. It is much easier to slide into prayer when someone else has broken the spiritual inertia and started praying. It is much easier to pray when you are under the expectant gazes of others. But Jesus wants us to take the honesty of the times when we are alone with God and pray to Him. We laud David’s sincerity and honesty about his feelings and what he was going through as recorded in the Psalms. But we must remember that when David composed many of those emotionally-charged, gut-wrenching prayers, he was holed up in a cave, on the run, lying awake all night on his bed, or out under the stars. He had neither an audience nor “prayer partners.” What sustained David during his most difficult times was private communication with God through prayer.
Ole Hallesby wrote:
A little while alone with Jesus—
Oh, how it soothes the soul,
And gathers all the threads of life
Into a perfect whole.
While Jesus also went up into a mountain to be alone in prayer, He advised us to enter into our closets or some other private chamber and that is still a good practice today. However, some have pointed out that, for many, the point of Jesus’ command — to be alone with God — may be a hard reality to bring about in their actual place of residence — even if they are the only person living there. When the first disciples received this command, they didn’t have televisions, radios, landlines, smartphones, tablets, iPods, or computers. You probably have all of these things — and multiple versions of these things — in your house. You probably have one or more in each room, not counting the phone that seems to be glued to your hand at all times. If your private office is your “prayer closet,” you are not really fulfilling the command to private prayer if you have one eye on your Facebook feed.
In the first century, the place of activity was outside the home, while the home was the place of calm. Today, the home is just as busy, if not busier, than the outdoors. That is why some have suggested finding your “prayer closet” among nature. Leave your phone and your iPod behind and go for a fifteen- to thirty-minute prayer walk in the park or around your block. Jordan Monson said Jesus’ command to private prayer is “prayer without distraction. The message is the same, but the means have reversed. One of the best ways to close the door in the 21st century is to open the door and leave your home to go on a prayer walk. This is the opposite of shutting yourself in a room, but it accomplishes the same purpose in our era.” Not only must you often shut the physical door to bar personal interaction, but you must also shut the digital door to bar mental distraction when you pray.
If you don’t spend time in private prayer, you won’t have the power to be victorious in spiritual warfare.
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Now, if you are with us today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, your first prayer needs to be what we call the Sinner’s Prayer. First, please understand that you are a sinner, just as I am, and that you have broken God’s laws. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your Salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on trusting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. You have done the most important thing in life. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door, by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.