Paul, in his closing remarks in his letter to the Ephesians, Eph 6:18-24, asks for prayer, mentions that he is sending Tychicus to them, and blesses them with peace and grace. In these closing remarks, he shows us what we ought to do. We ought to:
Pray always in the Spirit – Eph 6:18 – Paul often mentions prayer in his epistles. Here he wrote, “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit.” So, we are not to just say prayers. Rather, we are to pray “in the Spirit” so that the Spirit will make intercession for us. In this way, we can pray “as we ought,” Rom 8:26. The Spirit makes intercession for us “according to the will of God,” Rom 8:27.
Paul requested specifically that the Ephesians would pray for him to open his mouth boldly “to make known the mystery of the gospel.” Yet, by what means God would answer this prayer only the Spirit of God would know. Would it be through Paul’s continued incarceration, Phil 1:12-13, through his release, Phil 1:19, or through his death, Phil 1:20? Only God would know. And only God knows the best requests and answers in our prayers. So, we must pray in the Spirit.
Watch with all perseverance – Eph 6:18 – watching is wakefulness. Perseverance is persistence and continued pursuit. “Watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication” is staying awake when you are praying and staying with your prayers “for all saints” as long as it takes for them to be answered. The best cross-reference is Matt 26:38-41. The disciples didn’t stay awake nor did they persevere in their prayers with Jesus.
I have heard several testimonies of late night prayer meetings with the Lord at the Spirit’s prompting through which God worked miraculously. R. A. Torrey wrote of a wicked man who used to stand outside of his tabernacle offering beer to the saints going home. Through the prayers of his mother in Scotland, that man was awakened one night and saved in his own bed. When he went to see his mother in Scotland, they prayed together for his lost brother who was a sailor in the China seas. One night when they prayed, the Holy Spirit brought that sailor to Christ. He later became a missionary to India.
Preach the gospel with boldness – Eph 6:19-20 – Imagine Paul requesting prayer to speak boldly. Even he knew that without the Lord he could do nothing. Though the righteous are bold as a lion, Prov 28:1, we must still be filled with the Holy Spirit if we are going to preach the gospel with boldness, Acts 4:31. When we’re preaching, we must be unafraid of men and, yet, we must know precisely what to say from the word of God that will minister grace to the hearers.
A street evangelist confronted a sinner with, these words, “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish,” Lk 13:3. The sinner knocked him to the ground in anger. Yet, that night, in his hotel, God used the words of that street preacher to bring that man under conviction. The next morning, he went straight to a church and found a preacher who led him to the Lord. Thank God for a bold street preacher who didn’t back down from a sinner who didn’t want to hear the gospel.
Know the affairs of the preachers – Eph 6:21-22 – Paul was concerned for the Ephesians and knew that they were concerned for him. So, he sent Tychicus to them to let them know his affairs and how he was doing. We should likewise be concerned for our missionaries who are serving God in other places. Their reports are good news to encourage us, Prov 25:25. Their letters help us to know how to pray for them. You should read their letters posted in the foyer and you should be here Wednesday night to hear their missionary reports and prayer requests.
Live in peace, love, faith, and grace – Eph 6:23 – peace, love, and faith are from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. They are part of the fruit of the Spirit, Gal 5:22-23. The Father sent the Spirit, Jn 14:16, 26, in the name of Jesus and the Spirit brings forth this fruit in our lives, by which we must live. These three things, coupled with grace, Eph 6:24, 1 Tim 1:14, give us all we need. The peace of God passeth all understanding, Phil 4:6-7. Christ dwells in our hearts by faith and we are rooted and grounded in love, Eph 3:17. We are strengthened by God’s sufficient grace to do his work, 1 Cor 15:10.
Love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity – Eph 6:24 – sincere love of the Lord Jesus Christ is free from hypocrisy. When you love him, you keep his words, Jn 14:23. Paul said in 1 Cor 16:22, “If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha.” That is, let him be accursed at his coming. Jesus knows whether you love him sincerely. Learning to sincerely love the Lord should be one of the greatest pursuits of young and old alike. After all, it is the first and great commandment.
Conclusion: we find in Paul’s closing words great instructions for us. Now let us follow what we have learned until Jesus comes.