Words of Faith 5-18-2021
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2021
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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 Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the Gospel,  for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.
There was a part of the warfare that Paul wanted to be sure to remind the believers about--"Pray for me." Sometimes it is easy to forget to pray for leaders, especially those we hold in high esteem.
There were many reasons to pray for Paul. We must not forget that Paul was in prison. He has given us the impression in this letter that he might have been writing from a country retreat house, but this was not the case. He was under house detention in Rome, and though he enjoyed a relaxed form of custody that allowed him to receive visitors, he was still incarcerated by the Roman authorities. There were guards in the room. Still, it may have seemed odd to the Ephesian believers to hear Paul request prayer for himself.
Sometimes our leaders seem bigger than life. Paul was a giant in the eyes of the Ephesians and everyone else in the region. When he first came to Ephesus, there were only a few followers of Jesus, but they did not operate in the power of the Holy Spirit. From that beginning, with a handful of men, Paul proclaimed the power of God and the greatest outpouring of His Spirit since Pentecost occurred.
For three years, the Ephesians had seen the power of God poured out through Paul. The people repented of their idolatry and the worldly focus of their lives. The miracles of healing and cleansing were amazing. Even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched Paul were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured, and the evil spirits left them. This city that had been centered in idolatry repented and turned away from paganism to such a degree that the idol-makers rioted. No one had ever seen anyone like this one named Paul.
Yet, Paul made the request-- "Pray for me." The truth is that there are no spiritual leaders so great that they no longer need the protection of prayer. There are no pastors so careful in their walk that they no longer require a covering of prayer. There are no missionaries so elevated in their calling that they do not need connection with the Body of Christ and the prayer of others.
Christian leaders are sometimes tempted to keep the needs of life and ministry a secret. Paul did not slip into this sort of isolation. Paul was specific in His request. "Pray that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the Gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should." Twice in this passage, Paul prayed for courage and words.
We might not think of Paul needing either courage or words. While Paul was clearly the greatest missionary, prophet, and theologian of the New Testament era, he was also not known for having an easy command of words. Words came hard for him. Some had said, "His letters are weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive, and his speaking amounts to nothing" (2 Corinthians 10:10). Paul admitted that he was not a trained speaker, but this simply showed that his apostleship was not a matter of show but of substance. What Paul said was more important than how he said it. He had knowledge of the Lord from personal experience to testify about (2 Corinthians 11:5-6).
Those who heard him preach, read his letters and experienced his ministry could not deny the power of his message and ministry. Yet, still, Paul asked for prayer for courage and the right words. With a steady stream of visitors through his place of confinement, and the opportunity to witness daily to the elite praetorian guards given charge over him, Paul wanted most of all to use every opportunity for the Gospel of Jesus.
Don’t miss this. Christian leaders need our prayer no matter how highly we might esteem them. Our pastors, teachers, missionaries, and evangelists all need our covering of prayer. Whether their words come easily or not, they need both courage and words from the Lord. For those giving comfort and care to the hurting, there is the need for words and courage added to compassion and the fruit of the spirit.
Are you praying for your leaders?
Father God, cover and protect the leaders of Your Body, the church, today. Give the compassion to respond and lead. Give the courage and the words to share the Good News. Give them encouragement and resources to continue on and to listen for Your direction and vision. In Jesus' Name.