Jesus said, “Watch and pray, that you may not enter into temptation; the Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak” (Matt. 26:41). Jesus knew that prayer was absolutely necessary to resist temptation, that without it we are weak and vulnerable to the attacks of Satan.
Paul tells us in Ephesians 6 that we are in a struggle, not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in heavenly places. He therefore suggests that we put on the full armor of God so that we may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.
As we see in Ephesians 6:18, prayer is part of this full armor. But we should not look at prayer as just one piece of the full armor, as if to have a little significance. Prayer, in fact, is significant for the correct use of each piece of armor. Moreover it energizes the armor and holds each piece of armor in place. In the final analysis, it is our power for victory.1
Prayer, as it is used in verse 18, is not just of one kind; it is “all prayer.” All kinds of prayer, therefore, are to be used against the enemy. And with “all prayer” we are to pray “at all times.” That is, we must pray without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17). What is meant here, according to Warren Wiersbe, is that we must “always be in communion with the Lord.”2 And this infers that we must always be drawing on His strength. Yes, we must be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might (Eph. 6:10), which cannot be accomplished without unceasing prayer in the Spirit.
Also, when we pray, we must “be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all saints” (v.18), knowing that the devil is on the prowl, seeking to destroy God’s people. We must therefore, be watchful and pray, not just for ourselves, but also for all other believers who are subject to the same temptations as we are. And when we are faithful to pray for others, God will be faithful to bless us and give us His strength.
1 Warren Wiersbe, Be Rich (Wheaton, Illinois: Victor Books. A division of SP Publications, Inc., 1976), p. 172.
2 Ibid., p. 172.