‘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 Lord’s people.’ – Ephesians 6.18From Toni Clark:
“Be alert” is part of the latest message from the government about how we should live in the current Coronavirus crisis. But this verse encourages us to be alert for a very different reason.
When do you pray? Do you have particular times of the day or even particular days? Have things changed over the last few months? How are you finding praying at the moment when things still aren’t normal? We can’t pray together as we used to at the moment – I always think there is something special about praying alongside someone or in a small group. So, for me, praying over Zoom just doesn’t feel the same. However I am thankful that we can offer prayer ministry at the end of the Sunday service because sometimes we need to pray with others, especially if we are struggling to pray alone. Perhaps you are finding it hard to pray because of worries or anxieties that distract you or with everything that is going on you just don’t know what to pray.
This is where I think this verse is so very helpful. We are reminded that we are called to pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.
So whatever situation we are in, we are called to pray and present our requests to God. That is a great encouragement – some normality amongst all the strange things going on around us, but also a challenge – that whatever is going on in our lives we need to keep praying.
‘All kinds of prayers and requests’ leaves it wide open as to what we can pray about. If I’m not sure what to pray about I just spend time giving thanks to God, for the beauty of creation, for my friends and family or something nice that has happened. I can always find something I am thankful to God for and from there I usually think about other things I want to pray about.
I do love the creative ways in which Helen prays during the family slot on a Sunday morning, and these great ways can help us to structure our prayers during the week if we are struggling to think about how to pray.
The second part of the verse is a challenge for us – to be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. So whilst we may not be together or even seeing each other at the moment, we should keep praying for each other. We need to be alert to people’s worries, needs and joys, and when we hear about them we should pray for them, whether it is to give thanks for something lovely that has happened or to give to God a worry they have. So can I encourage you that when you hear from someone, whether through a chat on Zoom, or a phone call or a text message, you take time to pray for that person and the place they are in at this time?