An Important Prayer Request
I remember driving daily past a sign in Dallas that said, “Urgent Emergencies.” Every time I saw that sign, I thought the message was strange because every emergency is urgent. Every prayer request is important. That is why we ask others to pray. Whether it is important to us or not has little to do with what the person who is requesting prayer feels. To be honest with you, I entitled this article to catch your attention. People tell me that they always read Audrey’s article first. Maybe this title will change that.
This prayer request is one of the most important things to pray for. When Paul was writing to the church at Ephesus, he took time to teach on spiritual warfare and prayer. He gave them a prayer request that was astounding. In Ephesians 6:19 it says, “And pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel.” The Greek word for utterance is logos which means a prepared statement. Paul asked the church to pray that he would have something to say when he opened his mouth.
There are several things that make this statement amazing. The first of which is that Paul is a preacher and an apostle. He has proclaimed the Gospel all over the Roman Empire. What we see here is Paul’s desire not just to open his mouth, but that he would have something to say – a logos word for those who hear it. I listen to many preachers and teachers over the internet and many of them have something to say, but there are also some who are saying nothing close to the what we would call the Gospel or what Paul calls the mystery of the Gospel. Paul had already written to the Ephesians and had explained to them what the mystery of the Gospel is – which is we are saved by grace though faith. (Ephesians 2:8) Paul was depending on his experience as a preacher. He was earnestly asking the Ephesians to pray that he would have something to say that would change lives.
Another thing that makes this request amazing is that Paul is writing this letter from a Roman prison. Paul is not in prison for shoplifting or any other crime. He is in prison because he was preaching the Gospel. Paul was in prison because he had something to say that upset the Jewish leadership. If Paul had been just saying words with no power, he would not be in prison. Yet, Paul asks the church to pray that he would have something to say to those he met while in prison. At the time of this writing, Paul was in house arrest in Rome. People could come to him, but he could not leave. There were Roman soldiers who kept Paul under guard. Paul wanted something to say to them. Paul wanted something to say to Tychicus and Luke and all the other people that ministered to him while in prison.
Not only did Paul want words to say, but he wanted to say them with boldness. When Paul said he wanted to speak boldly, he used a word that could be translated as speaking with confidence. The Greek word is usually translated as confidence in the English New Testament. Paul is not only concerned with what he preaches, but also with how he preaches it. Paul had many experiences that his message had gotten him in trouble. He had experienced persecution and had also seen the effects of persecution on other believers. Paul had watched the martyrdom of Stephen. I believe that had an effect on him.
This prayer request is so important to us as believers today. Like never before, believers are struggling with their message. When our message has content or meaning to it, it is often met with opposition. Christians are being called haters, racists and many other things because of our message. Many have shrunk away from a message that will change lives. We need to pray for each other. Paul wrote about using the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, in the verse prior to this one. He ended that verse by saying we need to be praying for all the saints. This is a very important prayer request for all believers today. We need to be praying for the saints who live in countries where they are dying for their faith.
We need to pray for those who are being tempted to “tone down” the message that God has given them to speak. We also need to pray that we all speak with confidence. A confidence that is filled with love. Many times, brashness is seen as boldness. It is not. Boldness is speaking the Good News with confidence that it will set the prisoners free.
Will you join me in fulfilling Paul’s prayer request?