Monday, February 1, 2010

Praying for Boldness

Eph 6:18-20

The great prophet Elijah serves as an example for us in the place of prayer. In James 5:17 we read that Elijah "was a man subject to like passions as we are." Elijah was not some kind of superman spiritually, but rather he was someone just like us. Elijah serves as a vivid demonstration of some one just like us. However, Elijah prayed. This presents us with a vital doctrine. Prayer is a must, an absolute necessity.

Likewise in our text Paul gives us a testimony to his own weakness when he asks the believers in Ephesus to pray for him. He wanted them to pray that his witness would be with boldness. Now this is truly an amazing request. Paul is declaring that he can not do it without their prayers.

Was not this the apostle who preached the gospel to both Jew and Gentile in public and from house to house at Ephesus (Acts 20:20)? Did not Luke record that "all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus" from the lips of Paul (Acts 19:10)?

And yet now, he requests prayer for boldness. Was Paul putting them on? Was this a self-conscious attempt at humility. No it was not.

I. A delightful request - “and for me

This was not a request for better treatment from the authorities, nor was it a request for more favorable conditions within his cell, nor was it a request for his release from captivity. Paul is not thinking about himself but his task.
He does not express a desire to escape, but he is overwhelmed with the tasks of telling others about the grace of God.

II. A definite responsibility - “as I ought

Paul was fully aware of the responsibility that he had been entrusted with. He lived under the burden of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

III. A dtermined repetition “Open my mouth boldly........may speak boldly
It is significant that Paul should repeat his request for prayer. Although he had been blessed by God and was famous among believers of his day, he realized that in his own strength he could no nothing. He needed strength to speak boldly and be the witness for Christ that he ought to be.
Paul felt his need of the prayer for the saints because he recognized the importance of his labors.
Paul valued the prayers of his friends and repeated his urgent request.

If the church at home believed more in the power of prayer and practiced it more earnestly, the missionary abroad would be more successful in his work.
When C. H. Spurgeon was once asked what was the secret of his ministry, he replied, “My people pray for me.”