Class Notes: 4/16/2008
Eph 6:18-20 Paul's request for intercessory prayer for his witnessing
We are continuing in our study of prayer as part of the PPOG or the Predestination provided by God for the believer in eternity past for the purpose of determining just how and what we should pray for as we function in his plan for our lives.
At the moment we are examining Paul's prayers and we have seen in our study of his prayers in Eph 1:18; Eph 3:14; Phil 1:3; and Col 1:9; that the focus of his prayer was for believers to appropriate by Grace the spiritual resources that God has provided and be enlightened, empowered and enabled to advance in God's predetermined plan for their lives.
Last time we concluded our study of Paul’s prayer, his mandate, his petition and his request for prayer support through believer's intercession that is recorded in Col 4:2-6; and we are presently looking at his prayer in Eph 6:18-19; where he makes similar requests.
The last phrase in v18 is "and petition for all the saints” In this passage, Paul describes prayer on behalf of fellow believers.
It is God who is building up church, the corporate body of TLJC, and causing the various parts of it to be built up Eph 4:11-16;
The believer’s persistent prayers for other believers who are part of the body to be built up demonstrates their faith and their positive volition to God's word and his mandate for believer's prayer enabling God to deploy his power from eternity into time in greater measure.
Remember, mankind’s faith and positive volition are issues in the Angelic Conflict.
During this time of probation on this earth in time, God has decreed to deploy his omnipotence according to approval his righteousness and justice, which is satisfied by the positive volition of man toward the person and the thinking of TLJC.
Omnipotent God can do anything he chooses to do, but because he is also Righteous and just he may not choose do all that he can do.
What the righteousness of God demands the Justice of God executes via the Love and Grace of God, but what the righteousness of God does not demand does not get executed.
An example of this is 1Tim 2:4; where it is stated that God desires that everyone be saved when compared with John 3:18;KJV where we see that not everyone is saved.
The word translated "judged" in the NASB and "condemned" in the KJV is the Perfect passive indicative of "krino” and when translated with the tense and mood in view is more accurately translated as " has received condemnation or has been judged in the past with results that go on forever"
God will not force anyone to believe in TLJC even though he could because it would violate the protocol of the Angelic Conflict.
Because of this, his righteousness and justice leaves unbelievers in condemnation because of their unbelief in the person of TLJC.
The believer's prayers when executed according to Bible Doctrine place demands on the righteousness of God and he will respond. James 5:16c; 2Cor 12:8;
Eph 6:18;c This petition for fellow believers is made in view of the fact that the battle that they face is spiritual Eph 6:12; and consequently the resources needed to engage the battle are spiritual and consequently must be provided by God.
It is impossible for believers to engage in an invisible battle without divine provision for perception as well as for protection and enablement. Because of the rules of engagement in the angelic conflict, and the mandate for prayer, prayer becomes a necessary component of the process.
Eph 6:19; Paul emphasizes his own urgent concern for believers’ intercession for him. All spiritual leaders need prayer support. In this passage, Paul says, “on my behalf.”
The prayer that Paul seeks is for his own warfare of using “the sword of the Spirit.”
His desire is for God-given boldness with clarity in proclaiming the greatest message, the Gospel of Christ.
He is requesting prayer not only for boldness, but for clarity with his presentation Col. 4:2-4; and he desires to see a rapid spread of the message of salvation, and to have it glorified 2Thes 3:1;
Paul not only desires for believers to pray as these items are deployed, but he also wants God’s protection from evil men and their opposition.2Thes 3:2; cf. Phil 1:28;
Some principles regarding Paul's similar prayer requests that are recorded for us in Col 4:2-4 and Eph 6:19-20;
We see that by means of prayer and the application of the PSD’s believers can be victorious in all of the battles that they face.
We see that prayer needs to be used in association with the power of God’s armor which is described in verses 10-17 and “by means of the Spirit” who supplies the power Eph 6:18; Eph 3:16; Eph 5:18;
Prayer is a necessity, for believers to live the spiritual life and to engage with spiritual forces that are trying to stop them.
Prayer must be in accord with God’s Word and the ministry of God the Holy Spirit who fills and enables believers. Eph 6:17-18; Eph 5:18;
Paul shows us by his example that the believer’s prayer involves all aspects of presentation to God through Praise, Thanksgiving, Confession Intercession and Petition.
Believers are to be consistent and steady in their prayer.
Prayer requires the believer to persevere with focus and diligence, but it is God the Holy Spirit who provides our access to God. Eph 2:18; Eph 6:18; and who provides the power for the believer. Eph 3:16;
It is important that believers are praying for those who are communicating God’s message so that the Word will have the maximum impact. Eph 6:19-20;
Paul requested that believers pray for believers who were involved in evangelism either in their spiritual gift or their personal ministry. When Paul was in prison with possibilities for evangelism all around him he, he wrote to believers in the local churches requesting prayer on his behalf. Eph 6:19, 20; Col 4:3;
Instead of sending the churches a list of names and requesting prayer for the salvation of those individuals, Paul said, “Pray on my behalf”
Paul prescribed prayer for the believer rather than those who would hear the message. His request was for his effectiveness in his witness to the unsaved.
This can be related to TLJC’s mandate to pray for those who were sent to communicate the Gospel of the Kingdom to the Jews during his presentation to Israel during the Dispensation of his unglorified humanity as recorded in. Luke 10:2; where the word translated “beseech” is second person plural aorist passive imperative of “deomai” which is a mandate for prayer requests to God for the workers.
Paul requested prayers “that God may open up to us a door for the word” Col 4:3;
His concern was not for his own well being or comfort, but for opportunity to speak. He wanted the maximum opportunity to present the Gospel message.
The Greek word "hina" translated (“that”) introduces the purpose clause. In this instance the opening of a door for the word was to be the subject of prayer, and they were to pray in order that such an opportunity might be granted.
The Greek word translated "may open" is the ingressive aorist subjunctive of "anoigoo" and conveys the idea, that the "door might begin to open at a point in time.” for the Gospel to be presented.
Paul requested that they pray that God would provide the opportunity, or “a door,” to be opened for his witnessing.
It is God’s responsibility to open doors of opportunity Rev 3:7; Realizing that it is God who opens doors; Paul requested prayers so that the door would be opened.
Paul did not force opportunities, but rather, through prayer, he depended on God to provide the opportunities and lead him to them.
Prayer for the harvesters involves praying that believers will be given the opportunity to witness.
We see in his request for prayer for an opportunity to witness, Paul requested “boldness” twice. Eph 6:19-20;
In both phrases he uses the noun and verb forms of the Greek word "parrhesia". Which has the main idea of having “free speech", or having “speech which is open, bold and fearless and without restraint.
The believer’s fear hinders freedom in proclaiming Christ. So, Paul desired that the gospel be made “known with boldness” Eph 6:19;
Fear is an impediment Prov 29:25; And we understand that it is also a sin Rom 14:23b 1John 4:18; 2Tim 1:7;KJV
It is possible to witness and yet to be inhibited by fear to such a degree that the presentation is unclear and therefore ineffective. Paul requested prayer that this would not happen in his case. He wanted to be able to have freedom to set the Gospel forth clearly and courageously without being inhibited by fear.
Paul considered intercessory prayer an important factor in enabling fearless witnessing. Prayer, which is rightly oriented, involves praying that the laborers will be given boldness to utilize the openings that God presents as opportunities for witness.
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