And pray for me, too, that I may be able to speak freely here to make known the secret of that gospel for which I am, so to speak, an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may speak out in my plain and obvious duty. (Ephesians 6:19-20, Phillips version)
For good reason we perceive Paul as fearless, immune from discouragement, and unstoppable in pursuit of preaching. Yet the great theologian, missionary, and pastor acknowledges his need of prayer. In reality he was simply a frail, fallen human-being like every one of us without exception.
Like us, he was an “ambassador,” a representative of Jesus; but he knows he lacks sufficient resources to communicate the gospel effectively. So he calls on the church to pray for him. With chains bound to his body, he does not communicate a feeling of self-pity or resentment, rather he asks for prayer for the mission. His fear is that the gospel might get stuck in his throat, perhaps muffled by apprehension of fear for himself or others.
Pray for boldness and opportunity to share the gospel and for others as they share it. Why? Satan does not want us to have the right words to say or for our boldness in the reality of this conflict. Sharing the gospel is true spiritual warfare. Also opposed by our culture, we absolutely need God’s power to do it faithfully.
Consider the following thoughts regarding prayer:
“The great tragedy in life is not unanswered prayer, but unoffered prayer.” F.B. Meyer
“Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?” Corrie ten Boom
“The best prayers have often more groans than words.” John Bunyan
“Prayer is the rope that pulls God and man together. But it doesn’t pull God down to us; it pulls us up to Him.” Billy Graham
“To know how to speak to God is more important than knowing how to speak to men.” A. Murray
“Whether we like it or not, asking is the rule of the Kingdom.” C.H. Spurgeon
“God has not always answered my prayers. If He had, I would have married the wrong man— several times!” Ruth Bell Graham
“The self-sufficient do not pray, the self-satisfied will not pray, the self-righteous cannot pray.” Leonard Ravenhill
Maranatha!… “Never stop praying!” I Thess.5:17 (Phillips)