This is a continuation of the series on Fighting the Spiritual Battle in Prayer.
The last characteristic of warfare prayer is that warfare prayer focuses on advancing the gospel.
Ephesians 6:19-20: “[Pray] also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.”
It’s interesting to think of what Paul didn’t pray for in Ephesians 6. It says clearly in v20 that Paul was in prison. It would be so easy to pray for liberty, comfort, or vengeance in his situation.
Paul had his mind on eternal things. No matter how things turned out, his time in jail would be temporary. He wouldn’t be worried about his own comfort 10,000 years into eternity but wanted all people, even his enemies, to come to the feet of Christ in faith and repentance.
Would you agree that it’s a pretty big deal in a battle if your enemy decides to put down their weapons and join your side? That’s why Paul commands believers in verse 15 that we should be firm with the gospel like shoes on our feet—to march the banner of Christ forward in the spiritual battle.
How should we pray in order to advance the gospel? The New Testament provides many answers, but we’ll look at two ways Paul shares in verses 19 and 20.
The first thing to pray for is boldness. Paul mentions boldness twice in verses 19 and 20. Another way of saying boldness is to talk “without fear.” That’s the way one Spanish translation (LBLA) has it (or more accurately, “sin temor”).
Why would one need to pray for boldness? Logically, it is because there is a fear to overcome. Have you ever feared sharing the gospel with others? I know what it’s like too, especially if I feel like I’ll be rejected.
How encouraging is it that Paul—the guy who wrote 13 books in the New Testament, the greatest missionary the world has ever seen, the one who saw the resurrected Christ on the road to Damascus—asked people to pray for him to be bold and not fearful when sharing the gospel?!
Do you feel a little better if you’ve ever feared evangelism?
You should be encouraged, but not in a way that excuses being fearful. Pray for boldness and confidence in sharing the gospel with others. God is ready to help you speak with courage if you would only ask.
This truth should drive us to pray for our pastors, for evangelists, for missionaries to speak the gospel without reservation, remembering the authority of our Lord over the entire earth and the presence of Christ with us (Matthew 28:18–20). This is how the gospel advances.
(For more on what praying for gospel boldness looks like, look at the example of the Apostles in Acts 4:23–31.)
The second thing to pray for is clarity, “That words may be given me” (19). Paul knew he needed people to pray for clarity in his sharing of the gospel. This should also be encouraging for all of us.
The gospel is a message that demands a response. If we speak about the gospel without clarity, no one will believe us because no one will understand us!
Pray for clarity when presenting the gospel to family, friends, coworkers, and others the Lord brings in your path. God is ready to give us boldness and clarity to advance His kingdom if we only ask.
I’ll let John Stott close this post out with his comments on these verses:
Clarity without courage is like sunshine in the desert: plenty of light but nothing worth looking at. Courage without clarity is like a beautiful landscape at night time: plenty to see, but no light by which to enjoy it. What is needed in the pulpits of the world today is a combination of clarity and courage, or of ‘utterance’ and ‘boldness’. Paul asked the Ephesians to pray that these might be given to him, for he recognized them as gifts of God. We should join them in prayer for the pastors and preachers of the contemporary church.