Thursday, July 29, 2010

Prayers for Boldness

Ephesians 6:19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

19 καὶ ὑπὲρ ἐμοῦ, ἵνα μοι δοθῇ λόγος ἐν ἀνοίξει τοῦ στόματός μου, ἐν παρρησίᾳ γνωρίσαι τὸ μυστήριον τοῦ εὐαγγελίου, 20  ὑπὲρ οὗ πρεσβεύω ἐν ἁλύσει, ἵνα ἐν αὐτῷ παρρησιάσωμαι ὡς δεῖ με λαλῆσαι.

This is at the very end of the passage on the armor of God.  Paul gives his readers a prayer request.  He needs prayers to declare the gospel boldly.  Think about this for a minute.  This is the Paul who converted jailers because he would talk to them about the gospel while they were chained to him.  This is Paul the missionary church planter who suffered all kinds of hardships so that he could spread the gospel.  He still wanted prayers so that his mouth would be opened ἐν παρρησία, or in boldness.  After all, that was how he had to speak.

It's fascinating to me that I read this today.  I've been having conversations with a coworker who has been exhorting me to spend more time witnessing.  He is absolutely right, though I'm still not convinced that million dollar bill tracts really do anything positive and may indeed be more of a negative than anything.  Nevertheless, at least he's doing something.  He sees a lost world and looks for opportunities to have his mouth opened boldly.

I do not shy away from opportunities to have spiritual conversations with people.  I'm just not very good at bringing it up.  I don't think it is very effective to force it, but I also know that people need to brought to these conversations.  I don't think it is reasonable to expect to be like Philip finding the Ethiopian eunuch trying to figure out the book of Isaiah.

I want desperately to have opportunities to talk to people about Jesus.  After all, that's one of the reasons why I'm in seminary.  So what I get from this passage is that I also need to be more intentional in my prayers that "words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly."  Quite convicting.

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