Class Notes: 4/20/2008
Eph 6:18-19 2Thes 3:1-5 Paul's request for prayer support cont...
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.
We are presently looking at his prayer in Eph 6:18-19; as compared with Col 4:2-6; where he requests prayer for the right words, and for boldness for his presentation of the Gospel.
Last time we ended with the idea that fear could inhibit the believer's effectiveness in witnessing Prov 29:25;
In Eph 6:19; Paul urged his readers to pray, “that utterance may be given to me”. The word translated” utterance” is the Greek word “logos” Is not the ordinary word used to describe preaching, but refers to the words that compose the message in order for it to be understood. "Logos' is normally translated "word" as in John 1:1;
Paul wanted to proclaim the good news of Christ effectively with words so he asked for prayers that the right words would be provided by God.
It is possible that Paul was not a great orator. He referred to himself as being “unskilled in speech” in 2 Cor 11:6; But he was certainly effective as is shown by his witness recorded in Acts 17:22-32;
Eph 6:19; The word translated “be given”, the aorist passive subjunctive of “didomi” indicates that the Paul expected to receive the words that he would speak directly from God.
Paul believed that effective witnessing must be initiated by God. It requires God working through him. Because of this, Paul urged Christians to pray that God would grant him proper wording in his witnessing.
Paul's request for prayer for his witnessing shows that he was aware of the difficulty and importance of his witness and the fact that he had to be divinely enabled to perform it.
Because the message to be presented is described as the mystery of the Gospel” Eph 6:19; and the “mystery of Christ” Col 4:3; divine assistance would be needed in both its proclamation by the communicator and its comprehension by the hearers.
The term “mystery” refers to the doctrine that God has sovereignly withheld and then revealed to mankind at a specific point later in history.
The “mystery” or the mystery doctrine of the Church age had been revealed to Paul by direct revelation from God Eph 3:3-13;
Because of its divine origin, these revealed truths are beyond the scope of human imagination. They are described as “ things that eye has not seen and ear has not heard” in 1Cor 2:9;
His presentation of this information must be done with clarity of words provided by God if men are to comprehend it, and he requested prayer that it would be achieved.
Paul requested the believers at Ephesus to pray not only for him to present the message boldly, but also “as I ought to speak” Eph 6:20;c Similarly, he requested the Colossian believers to pray “that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak” Col 4:4;
In both situations, Paul made an appeal for clarity in presentation. This implies that the kind of clarity that Paul sought was beyond the realm of human ability. Consequently God must not only supply the words but the clarity as well and the believer’s prayer on Paul’s behalf secures that divine assistance.
In his prayers and his requests for prayer we see that he follows the instruction given by TLJC regarding prayer for those involved in evangelism. He prayed that the worker be given opportunities to witness, boldness as they witness, and clarity in the presentation of the message while witnessing.
This explains what is involved in praying for “the Lord of harvest to send out workers into his harvest” Matt 9:38;
Apart from Rom 10:1; where Paul prays for the unsaved Israelites who were his people, there is no record in the Bible that TLJC or Paul prayed directly for the unsaved world. Instead, they concentrated their prayer efforts on the building up of believers for the work of evangelism. When believers are prepared and then provided an open door by God the Holy Spirit evangelism inevitably takes place.
It is never wrong to pray to God for the salvation of a loved one since we are instructed to ask for “anything” John 14:14; and this would certainly include prayer for the salvation of a loved one.
But we must always remember that God will not violate the volition of the unsaved so it is more in accord with the instructions found in the word of God to pray that God would send prepared and Spirit-filled believers across the path of that loved one, and that believers would be built up and equipped for effective witnessing.
We will know look at Paul's request for prayer for the word of the Lord to be spread rapidly and glorified in 2Thes 3:1-5;
In this passage Paul provides the example of asking for others’ prayers, in verses 1-2 he says “pray for us”, and in verse 5 he is praying that, “may the Lord direct your hearts" or the right lobe of the soul where the decisions are made.
There are three items that Paul focuses on in his request. He prays for the Message, for the glorification of the message, and for the preservation of the messengers.
2Thes 3:1; He describes the impact believers who pray can have, for “the word of the Lord.” to be spread rapidly.
Believer's prayers in this venue would include requests for good weather and good health to permit communicators the ability and freedom to travel, the ability for the communicators to speak clearly and have the sensitivity to communicate the Gospel in a relevant way for maximum impact.
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