“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;”

         “Praying always with all prayer and supplication”
         Literally:  “Through all prayer and petition”

Having finished his account of the armor, and having equipped his spiritual soldier, Paul now begins to shows him the necessity of praying; so that he may successfully resist those principalities, powers, the rulers of the darkness of this world, and the spiritual wickedness in heavenly places, with whom he has to contend.  It would be well for the soldier who goes forth to battle to pray:
1.      To pray for victory; or,
2.      To pray that he may be prepared for death, should he fall.

Unfortunately, soldiers too often do not feel the necessity of this; but to the Christian soldier, it is indispensable. Prayer crowns all lawful efforts with success, and gives a victory when nothing else would.
1.       No matter how complete the armor;
2.      No matter how skilled we may be in the science of war;
3.      No matter how courageous we may be, we may be certain that without prayer we shall be defeated.

God alone can give the victory; and when the Christian soldier goes forth armed completely for the spiritual conflict, if he looks to God by prayer, he may be sure of a triumph. This prayer is not to be intermittent. It is to be always. In every temptation and spiritual conflict we are to pray. Luke 18:1.

 With all kinds of prayer; prayer in the closet, the family, the social meeting, the great assembly; prayer at the usual hours, prayer when we are especially tempted, and when we feel just like praying, Matthew 6:6; prayer in the form of supplication for ourselves, and in the form of intercession for others. This is, after all, the great weapon of our spiritual armor, and by this we may hope to prevail.

"Restraining prayer, we cease to fight;
Prayer makes the Christian armour bright;
And Satan trembles when he sees
The meanest saint upon his knees."

         Prayer is the most powerful offensive weapon in the Christian warrior’s arsenal.  If the whole armor of God is to be put on and used effectively, we must follow this injunction, “Pray always…in the Spirit.”  Praying in the Holy Spirit is not turning in a grocery list to God.  It means that you and I recognize our enemy and that we lay hold of God for that which is spiritual that we might be filled with the fullness of God.  Paul here distinguishes between prayer and supplication.

        ALWAYS:   (Gr.-en panti kairōi)–Literally:  “at all seasons,” on every occasion. Prayer is needed in this fight. The armor of God is necessary, but so also is prayer.  Paul may have the words of Jesus (Luke 21:36) in mind here.

        WITH ALL PRAYER:  (Gr.-dia pasēs proseuchēs)–Literally: “through all prayer.”   

This seems to refer to the various elements which enter into true prayer, such as adoration, confession, thanksgiving and petition mingled with supplication.  This includes the different kinds of prayer that is performed in public, in the family, in the closet, in business, on the way, in the heart without a voice, and with the voice from the heart. All those are necessary to the genuine Christian; and he whose heart is right with God will be frequent in the whole.

“Some there are, who use only mental prayer or ejaculations, and think they are in a state of grace, and use a way of worship far superior to any other; but such only fancy themselves to be above what is really above them; it requiring far more grace to be enabled to pour out a fervent and continued prayer, than to offer up mental aspirations.” –John Wesley.

        PRAYER:  (Gr.-proseuchēs)–This is the making known of our petitions using the various elements just mentioned. 

                 SUPPLICATION:  (Gr.-deēseōs)–Literally:  “supplication; petition.”

Prayer is general and supplication is specific.  It is the intensity with which the desire is expressed, and is not to be intermittent.  Some think that simply “prayer” means prayer for the attainment of good; while “supplication” is prayer for averting evil. However, supplication seems to mean prayer continued in, strong and incessant pleadings, till the evil is averted, or the good communicated. There are two things that must be attended to in prayer.
1.      That it be in every time, season, or opportunity;
2.      That it should be in or through the Holy Spirit—that the heart should be engaged in it, and that its infirmities should be helped by the Holy Spirit.

         in the Spirit”
         Literally:  “in {the} Spirit.”–By the aid of the Holy Spirit; or perhaps it may mean that it is not to be prayer of form merely, but when the spirit and the heart accompany it.  Either may be correct. 

All effective prayer must be in the Spirit ALL true prayer is spiritual, and it is not true prayer unless the heart is filled by the Holy Spirit with heavenward longings and aspirations, changing our prayer from cold to heartfelt realities. The ordinary habit of the soul should be prayerful, realizing the presence of God and looking for His grace and guidance.

         “and watching thereunto”
         Literally:  “and watching to this same thing”–Watching for opportunities to pray; watching for the spirit of prayer.

        Inwardly attending on God, to know His will, to gain power to do it, and to attain to the blessings we desire. Being always on your guard lest your enemies should surprise you.  Watch, not only against evil, but also for opportunities to do good, and for opportunities to receive good.  Without watchfulness, prayer and all the spiritual armor will be ineffectual.

Watching against all those things which would hinder prayer.

 “Watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation, the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matt. 26:41).
“But the end of all things is at hand:  be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer(I Peter 4:7).

        “with all perseverance”
        Never becoming discouraged and disheartened (comp. Luke 18:1).  Being always intent on your object, and never losing sight of your danger, or of your interest.
        The word implies stretching out the neck, and looking about, in order to discern an enemy at a distance.

Always be intent on your object, and never losing sight of your danger, or of your interest.  The word implies stretching out the neck, and looking about, in order to discern an enemy at a distance.

        PERSERVANCE:  (Gr.-proskarterēsis)–Never becoming discouraged and dis-heartened.  Giving heed to, continuing in, etc. The perseverance or steadfastness in view is in the matter of prayer.  With unwearied importunity renewing our petitions till they be granted, notwithstanding apparent repulses, (comp. Matt. 15:22-28; Luke 18:1-5; II Cor. 12:8). 

         “For all saints”
         Literally:  “concerning all the saints”–For all Christians; for this was the character by which they were generally called by Paul. We should do this because:

1.      They are our brethren-though they may have a different skin, language, or name.
2.      Like us, they have hearts prone to evil, and need, with us, the grace of God.
3.      Nothing tends so much to make us love others, and to forget their faults, as to pray for them.
4.      The condition of the church is always such that it greatly needs the grace of God.
Many Christians have backslidden; many are cold or lukewarm; many are in error; many are conformed to the world; and we should pray that they may become more holy, and may devote themselves more to God.
5.      Each day many a Christian is subjected to some peculiar temptation or trial, and though he may be unknown to us, yet our prayers may benefit him.
6.      Each day and each night many Christians die.
We may reflect each night as we lie down to rest, that while we sleep some Christians are kept awake by the prospect of death, and are now passing through the dark valley; and each morning we may reflect that today some Christian will die, and we should remember them before God.

7.      We shall soon die, and it will be a comfort to us if we can remember then that we have often prayed for dying saints, and if we may feel that they are praying for us.

VERSES 19 & 20:  Go together to form a complete thought.

“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.”

         “And for me,”
         Literally:  “also on my behalf”  Paul now asks for prayer on behalf of himself. 
         As he comes to the conclusion of this epistle, he moves into the area of the personal.  He was a prisoner in Rome, and he also suffered from his thorn in the flesh

“And pray for me, too” is basically what Paul is saying here.  As Paul has asked prayer for others, he now asks that his readers give earnest supplication for him also.
1.      That he might be sustained in his afflictions; and
2.      That he might be able to manifest the spirit which he ought, and to do good as he had opportunity.

          “that utterance may be given unto me”
          Literally:  “that to me may be given speech”–This seems to signify that permission and power be given to defend one's self in a court of justice. 
This is perfectly applicable to the case of Paul, who was an ambassador in bonds, (Ephesians 6:20), and expected to be called to a public hearing, in which he was not only to defend himself, but the Gospel itself.

And we learn, from Philippians 1:12-14, that he had his desire in this respect; for the things which happened to him fell out to the furtherance of the Gospel, so that his bonds in Christ were manifest in all the palace, and in all other places. Thus God had enabled him to make a most noble defense, by which the Gospel acquired great credit. But this could also mean the opportunity to prove the truth and excellency of the Christian faith.

                 UTTERANCE:  (Gr.-logos)–Literally:  “speech.” 

         “that I may open my mouth boldly”
         Literally:  “in the opening of my mouth with boldness”–Or simply put, “That I might declare it fearlessly.” 

        Paul was in Rome. He was almost alone, he was surrounded by multitudes of the wicked. He was exposed to death. Yet he desired to speak boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and to invite sinners to repentance.
         The phrase, “opening the mouth” is a Hebraism used only where some grave utterance is in question; an expression always used of solemn and deliberate utterance. What Paul is asking them to pray for is that “word may be given him,” referring to “the word of wisdom and the word of knowledge, by the Spirit”  (I Cor. 12:8), according to the promise of Jesus (Matt. 10:19-20–“It shall be given you in the same hour what you shall speak; for it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father that speaketh in you.”
         Paul was always conscious of his great responsibility in being entrusted with the gospel of men’s salvation, and so he wishes above all that whenever he does have the opportunity to speak that gospel that God will give him the words (compare with Psa. 51:15)–“O Lord, open Thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.”
         That as Christian in chains, and surrounded by the wicked, may yet speak boldly, and may have hope of success.  Paul was not an unsuccessful preacher ever when a captive at Rome. Philippians 4:22–“All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar’s household.”
         The phrase, “opening the mouth” means, “to make known the mystery of the gospel.”Paul does not ask for prayer that his physical handicaps be removed, but that he might proclaim courageously the mystery of the Gospel.  Like the early apostles (Acts 4:29) Paul’s prayer was not for success, nor for deliverance from danger or suffering, but for boldness in proclaiming the gospel of God that had been entrusted to him.

        MYSTERY OF THE GOSPEL:  (Gr.-musterērion tou euangeliou)–The Gospel is a mystery that was not revealed in the OT as it is now.  The N.T. reveals that Christ died for all sins, was buried, rose again on the third day.  This is the Gospel and the message Paul was preaching.

“For which I am an ambassador in bonds that therein I may speak boldly as I ought to speak.”

                 FOR:  (Gr.-huper)–Literally:  “Because of.”

        “I am an ambassador in bonds”
        Literally:  “I am an ambassador in chains”–Quite a paradox. Ambassadors were held inviolable by the law of nations, and could not, without outrage to every sacred right, be put in chains. Yet Christ's “ambassador is in a chain!” The Greek is singular.

         He was an ambassador sent to proclaim peace to a lost world. But he was now in chains. An ambassador is a sacred character. No greater affront can be given to a nation than to put its ambassadors to death, or even to throw them into prison. In Acts 28:16 we read that when Paul first came to Rome he “was suffered to dwell by himself with a soldier that kept him” and in v. 20 of that same chapter he tells the Jews that “for the hope of Israel” he is “bound with this chain,” literally:  “this chain I have around {me}.”
        But Paul says here that the unusual spectacle was witnessed of an ambassador seized, bound, confined, imprisoned; an ambassador who ought to have the privileges conceded to all such men, and to be permitted to go everywhere publishing the terms of mercy and salvation. See the word ambassador explained.
         An ambassador being the representative of his king, his person was in all civilized countries held sacred. Contrary to the rights of nations, this ambassador of the King of heaven was put in chains! He had however the opportunity of defending himself, and of vindicating the honor of his Master.  Likewise as all ministers are sent by Christ and commissioned by Him, they too are entitled to the same honorable designation:   ambassador– “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ…” (II Cor. 5:20).
        Paul had just written about the spiritual warfare, and now we see that he was experiencing the onslaught of the enemy at the very moment he was writing.  He was not only physically helpless, but he was also in danger of being subdued into tame-ness, the ordinary effect of captivity, (imprisonment can bring its own special temptation to bow to the fear of man), and thus reduced to a spirit not befitting the bearer of a great message from the King of kings.        

         “that therein I may speak boldly”
         That in it–i.e., in the matter of it, of the gospelI may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.  Paul asks for prayer that he may speak the gospel with boldness.  We need that same prayer.  We need a boldness to declare the Word of God.

         THAT THEREIN: (Gr,.en autoi)—Literally:  “in it;” that is, says Rosenmuller, in the gospel; that in speaking the gospel he might be bold. Or is it referring to being in chains?

         I MAY SPEAK BOLDLY: (Gr,.parresiasomai)—Literally: “I may be bold.” Openly, plainly, without fear. Acts 4:13; 9:27; 13:46; 14:3; 18:26; 19:8; 26:26).

         “as I ought to speak”
         Literally:  “as it behooves me to speak.” —As becomes the dignity and the importance of the subject.

Whether in bonds or at large. Paul felt that the gospel ought always to be spoken with plainness, and without the fear of man. It is remarkable that he did not ask them to pray that he might be released. Why he did not we do not know; but perhaps the desire of release was not as near to his heart as was his duty of speaking the gospel with boldness. It may be of much more importance that we perform our duty aright when we are afflicted, or are in trouble, than that we should be released.

VERSES 21-24:  Final Message and Greeting

“But that ye also may know my affairs, and how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother, and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things.”

         “That ye also may know my affair, and how I do”
          Literally:  “That you also may know the things about me, what I am doing.”–That you may understand my condition, my feelings, and in what I am engaged.

To them it could not but be a subject of deep interest.  Having referred to his captivity, Paul thought it natural for the Ephesians to desire more information about him, how he was doing, how he fared in captivity. May be acquainted with my situation and circumstances.

         “and how I do.”
         Literally: “What I am doing.” That is, my circumstances; how I employ my time, and what fruit there is of my apostolic labors. 
         Paul’s health, as well as his situation, was a matter of anxiety to his friends.  

         “Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord”
          Literally:  “Tychicus, the beloved brother and faithful minister in {the} Lord.”

          Nothing more is known about this man other than that (with Trophimus) he was a man of Asia (Acts 20:4) who accompanied Paul when travelling from Macedonia to Asia, and was sent by Paul to various Churches (Col. 4:7 II Tim. 4:12; Titus 3:12). Tychicus became the pastor of the church in Ephesus. He not only carried the epistle to the Ephesian believers, but he also gave a personal account of the conditions of and prospects for Paul.  Evidently, Paul had great confidence in him.
        Tychicus is first mentioned with Trophimus in Acts 20:4 as being “of Asia,” and accompanying Paul on his last journey from Corinth to Asia, although he is not, like Trophimus, actually named as with the Apostle at Jerusalem. It is not known when he was converted, or why he was now at Rome. The Greeks speak of him as one of the seventy disciples, and make him bishop of Colophon, in the province of Asia.  It is highly probable that he was one of the “messengers of the churches” spoken of in II Cor. 8:18-23, as sent to bear the alms to Jerusalem. We now find him again with Paul, and made by him the bearer of this Epistle and the Epistle to the Colossians. Lastly, he is alluded to as still his companion in the interval between the first and second captivity (Titus 3:2), and in the second captivity is sent once more to Ephesus (II Tim. 4:12). It is evident that he well deserved the title of a “faithful minister” to Paul, and we note (in II Tim. 4:11-12) that the command to bring Mark, as being “profitable for ministration” is immediately connected with the remark, “Tychicus have I sent to Ephesus.”

“Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that ye might know our affairs, and that he migth comfort your hearts.”

         “Whom I have sent unto you”
         Literally:  “Whom I did send to you”–The churches where Paul had preached would naturally  feel a great interest in his welfare.
         This verse corresponds word for word with Col. 4:8,  being somewhat an official statement of Tychicus’ commission.

The Ephesian believers knew that Paul was a prisoner at Rome, and it was in doubt what the result would be of Paul’s meeting with Caesar. In this situation, he felt it proper to dispatch a special messenger to give information about his condition;
1.      To state what was doing in Rome;

2.      To ask the prayers of the churches; and,
3.      To administer consolation to them in their various trials.
The same sentiment, in regard to the embassy of Tychicus, is expressed in the epistle to the Colossians, (Col. 4:7-8).  No small part of the consolation which he would impart to them would be found in these invaluable letters which he bore to them from Paul.

         “for the same purpose”
        Literally:  “For this very thing; for this same thing.”   Namely, that the Ephesians might know his affairs, and those of the Church at Rome: messengers of this kind frequently passed between the Churches in those ancient times.

“our affairs”
Literally: "the things concerning us," namely, concerning myself, “Aristarchus, my fellow prisoner, and Marcus, sister's son to Barnabas” (Col 4:10).

         “that he might comfort your hearts”
         Literally:  “and he may comfort your hearts”   Tychicus would allay any fears that the Ephesians might have about the condition of Paul. 
         The brotherly love exhibited in the early church is the undertone of all Paul’s epistles.  Paul had a real concern for the brethren.

         By showing you how powerfully he was upheld in all his tribulations, and how God turned his bonds to the furtherance of the Gospel. This must have been great consolation to all the followers of God; and particularly to those in Ephesus or Laodicea, or to whomsoever the epistle was directed.


“Peace to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

        PEACE:  (Gr,.eirēnē)–This was the form of greeting of the Jewish world (shalom).  A sinner must know the grace of God before he can experience the peace of God.  This is that peace of God which passes all understanding. 

         “to the brethren”
        Literally:  “to the brothers”–This means the members of the Church in Ephesus, with special emphasis on bonding the Jewish and Gentile believers together into one body.

         “and love with faith”
          1.      Love of the brotherhood accompanied by faith in Christ and as an expression of it.
          2.      Love united with faith.
         Not only desiring that they might have faith, but the faith which worked by love.

        LOVE:  (Gr,.agapē)–This means love for other believers.  This the fruit of the Holy Spirit.  It is the love of Christ for them and their love for Him, and for each other.

        WITH FAITH:  (meta pisteos)–This means faith in Christ which produces love.  Faith that flows from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul is referring to love that is united with faith.  He is not only desiring that they might have faith, but also that they have faith that is worked by love; or to put it simply, faith that is the companion of love.  Faith in Christ receives Him as He is offered, and this in turn brings in us love for our fellow brethren.

         “from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
       Literally:  “from God {the} Father and {the} Lord Jesus Christ”–From God the Father (the original source of all our blessings) and the Lord Jesus Christ (through Whom these blessings are transmitted to us).

“Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity.  Amen.”

        GRACE:  (Gr,.charis )–Grace  is the key word of the entire epistle.

 Grace opened the Epistle (1:2) and Grace is the subject of the epistle (2:7-8).  Grace now concludes the epistle.  It is fitting because it is God’s grace which saved us and which sustains us daily.  While “peace” was the Jewish greeting, “grace” (charis) was the Greek greeting–“Grace to you.”  Paul is sending his greetings to both the Jewish and Gentile believers.

         “be with all them that love our Lord Jesus”
         Literally:  “with all those that love our Lord Jesus Christ”–This is more extensive than Paul’s former statement; he prays here for all true believers everywhere.

May the Divine favor, and all the benedictions flowing from it, be with all them who love our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has so loved us as to give his life to redeem ours, and to save us unto life eternal

        SINCERITY:  (Gr.-aphtharsiai)–Incorruptibility. Those who show the genuineness of their love, by walking before Him in holiness of life.

         With a pure heart; without pretending; without hypocrisy. There could not be a more appropriate close of the epistle than such a wish.  There will be nothing more needful for us, when we come to the close of life, than the consciousness that we love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Better, far better then will be the evidence of such sincere love, than all the wealth which toll can gain, all the honors which the world can bestow-than the most splendid mansion, or the widest fame.
         Many profess to love our Lord Jesus but they are corrupt in all their ways.   On such as these the grace or favor of God cannot rest for though they profess to know Him, but in their works they deny Him. Such can neither expect favor either here, or in the hereafter.

         “Amen”–This is lacking in many old manuscripts; however, more likely to be a genuine subscription here than most others of its kind. Paul might well have sealed his most earnest wish by this word, which means not so much, “so be it;” or “may it be so;” as it does to imply the faithfulness of Him who had given the promises, and Whose prerogative it was to give effect to the prayers which His own Spirit had inspired.

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