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09062020 Ephesians 6:19-20 A Pastor's Prayer

Ephesians  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  42:20
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Introduction

We were reminded last week that we are called to be people of the word and people of prayer. Paul says...
Ephesians 6:18 NASB95
18 With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,
With all kinds of prayer and in all kinds of situations, we are to pray without ceasing. We are to be people who are
Watchfully disposed
Persistently determined
Directionally Sanctified
As we go before God’s Throne of Grace with “all perseverance and petition for all the saints”…we stopped short last week of the next two verses in which Paul, the pastor, asks God for something personal, yet necessary - prayer for the servant of God.
Read vs. 19 and 20
Ephesians 6:19–20 ESV
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.
Prayer of Illumination

The Church’s Powerhouse

Smart Phone illustration - applications working in the background - you can’t see them, but if those apps stop working you experience problems
Cars have engines hidden beneath the hood. Ships have engines deep within...
Our Lord’s body, the church, has an engine room - its powerhouse and that is prayer:
Charles Haddon Spurgeon (19th Century British preacher) often called the “Prince of Preachers " would take visitors to the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London to a room in the basement where people were constantly interceding for the people of the church and especially for the pastor.
Spurgeon called that room - “the powerhouse of this church.”
Spurgeon knew the power of prayer and his need for prayer. When asked the secret of his influential preaching ministry, Charles Spurgeon frequently responded,
“My people pray for me.”

Paul’s Petition for Prayer

Paul, the man....But he was not afraid to ask for prayer because he knew it was necessary for his ministry and service
Romans 15:30 NASB95
30 Now I urge you, brethren, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God for me,
Colossians 4:2–3 NASB95
2 Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; 3 praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned;
2 Thessalonians 3:1 NASB95
1 Finally, brethren, pray for us that the word of the Lord will spread rapidly and be glorified, just as it did also with you;
1 Thessalonians 5:25 NASB95
25 Brethren, pray for us.
Hebrews 13:18 NASB95
18 Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a good conscience, desiring to conduct ourselves honorably in all things.
And here in Ephesians Pastor Paul reminds the church to pray with all kinds of prayer and petition, remaining alert at all times praying persistently and perseveringly interceding for all the saints,
he says “pray also for me...”

The One Constant (glue?)

As we study the pages of Scripture and the history of our Lord’s churches through time, one thing is constant in the lives of God’s most effective saints…Prayer!
If we are going to be the church God has called us to be; if we are going to be as effective as God intends for us to be, then we must be a church…we must be a people that prays.
Think about it – we represent heaven on earth. Our struggle is not against flesh and blood - we struggle against the schemes, the methods of Satan and his minions and without the powerhouse of prayer generating energy for the work of our Lord’s church...
We labor for the hearts and souls of men – how can we set off without one of the most essential elements of preparation for battle - prayer for yourself, pray for the saints, prayer for the work of the church and....

Prayer for me!

I have to admit, there’s a little awkwardness - a slight wave of selfishness, in preaching this text to you. It would be easier for me to preach this text before the congregation of any other church and encourage them to pray for their pastor.
My concern is not so much for myself, but for all those who are in ministry and service that we as a congregation would pray faithfully for them as they serve. If anyone called to ministry and service does not have the prayers of the people undergirding him, that ministry, but by God’s grace is doomed to ineffectiveness - even failure.
The Apostle Paul understood that.
Spurgeon understood that.
I understand that.
If I am going to be the preacher and pastor God wants me to be and the preacher and pastor you need me to be, I must have your prayers. Paul asked, coveted, pleaded passionately for the prayers of others because there is strength in union, and God honors and answers those kinds of prayers.
Jonathon Edwards, 18th Century American Revivalist preacher during the time we know as the Great Awakening...
“If some Christians that have been complaining of their ministers had said and acted less before people and had applied themselves with all their might to cry to God for their ministers – had as it were, risen and stormed heaven with their humble, fervent, and incessant prayers for them – they would have been much more in the way of success.”
How can we pray for those called to ministry and service?

Divine Supply of Truth

I’ve often said, if I didn’t have the Bible before me, I would have nothing to say.
Paul says, “pray on my behalf, that utterance, words, may be given to me in the opening of my mouth,...”
This word utterance (λόγος) means the having the right word for the right occasion. It means that when you pray, pray that God would give those who preach the right words at the right times for the right occasion.
Pray that those who are called to preach would be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. God will supply the words, and those who speak His Words would speak them as He leads. It is no good to say the right words at the wrong time or to say the wrong words at the right time.
The gospel is a glorious message - mystery of the gospel
1 Corinthians 1:18 NASB95
18 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
The story of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ to justify us, to declare us free from the penalty of sin…that God has provided a way where there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, a way where we who are sinful are forgiven and made right with Him is a glorious message!
Pray that God would give those who stand in the pulpits across the world the right words to declare the truth of that message…to make known the mystery of the gospel.
Pray for them - pray for me - that God will give us the right words, but you can also…”He would increase - I would decrease”
Pray also for...

Boldness to Proclaim that Truth

Pray that God would enable those called to ministry the power to speak boldly of Him - for Him.
Paul was no coward, no people-pleaser, but he needed prayer power so he might not fail to declare the whole truth of God, or through fear of the people, declare it in an apologetic, hesitating way.
We are all ambassadors for Christ, but God has called some to preach His Word, and any preacher who wants to please Christ wants to speak boldly. Pray for those who regularly preach the gospel that they would proclaim that message courageously, bravely and with truth. Pray those preachers would not be swayed by fear of the congregation they stand before. Pray they would preach with apology or be silence by fear of what those congregations might say or do.
So pray for me.
No coward can preach God’s Word, and believe me, Satan hammers away at everyone who is called to preach to compromise, soften, and make more palatable what the Bible says.
Think about the things I know about you. I have the privilege of knowing your joys and sorrows, your successes and your failures. I also get to know your weaknesses and in many cases, your struggles with sin.
Remember this, also, the longer I stay here, not only will I know those things about you; you will know them about me. The great challenge in all of this is to stay fresh, to stay true to God’s Word, to say the right things at the right times, and to be bold and courageous all the while without hesitation and without compromise.
So pray for me.
Pray also for...

Confidence to Persevere in that Truth

After asking the Ephesians to pray for him that utterance might be given to him in the opening of his mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, notice this passing remark: “…the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains.”
2 Corinthians 1:8–11 NASB95
8 For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; 9 indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; 10 who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us, 11 you also joining in helping us through your prayers, so that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the favor bestowed on us through the prayers of many.
The Apostle Paul in passing just reminds them a little bit of the trials that he has undergone for the sake of the gospel (see also 2 Cor 11:23-29) , and in doing so he is saying to them that he wants to be faithful even in chains to the Lord Jesus Christ; and in reminding them of that he is actually reminding all Christians to pray for those who minister among them that they might have endurance even in seasons of trial.
And if that is the case (and it always is), then Christians need to pray for their ministers, for all who are in gospel ministry, that they would endure those losses and crosses, those trials and those tribulations, those things that God has appointed, that they might be tender and faithful shepherds, ministers of the word of God.
Pray for them, pray also for me...
transition

Pastor are People Too

As strong as we consider the Apostle Paul - there were times that he struggled with the same things that every human being struggles with...
For Martin Luther of the protestant reformation, theology was not simply the academic study of religion. Rather, it was a lifelong process of struggle and temptation. As Luther never tired of saying, only experience makes a theologian.
“I did not learn my theology all at once,” he said, “but I had to search deeper for it, where my temptations took me. ... Not understanding, reading, or speculation, but living—nay, dying and being damned—make a theologian.”
He’s saying here that ministers are made in the crucible. That’s where God makes ministers. So pray for those in gospel ministry, because you can be sure that one way or another God is going to get to His servants in order to make them fit instruments in order to proclaim the truth of the gospel with boldness and with humility.
And so C.H. Spurgeon could speak to the minister’s fainting spells. He went through seasons when he did not feel capable of carrying on the ministry, when he didn’t feel equipped to carry on the ministry;
..or Samuel Rutherford who loved his congregation in Anwoth, but is sent half-way across the country to Aberdeen and held in exile there, far away from his people, and his heart will be broken;
..or James Montgomery Boice (10th Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia for 32 years) will be at the very height of his ministry, and he’s diagnosed with cancer and three months later he’s gone.
God has His ways. God knows what He’s doing.
We as Christians have the privilege of joining together to pray for those faithful gospel ministers even in their times of trial.
Pray for them
Pray for me.

A Pastor’s Prayer - Prop Him Up

In Exodus 17:8ff we read an account of Moses - a man who was “unskilled in speech” called to speak with Pharoah and lead God’s people out of Egypt.
Amalek had come and fought against Israel at Rephidim. Moses stationed himself on the top of the hill with the staff of God in his hand.
Israel and Amalek were in battle, and the contest was severe and close. "When Moses held his hand up, Israel prevailed. When he let his hand down (rested his hand), Amalek prevailed. As long as Moses held up the rod, Israel prevailed, but when he let down his hand with the rod, Amalek prevailed.
Moses’ hands grew heavy. Aaron and Hur came to help, for when Moses’ arms became so heavy that he couldn’t hold them up any longer, these two men held them up for him, one on one side and one on the other, so Moses’ hands were steady until the sun set until the sun went down and God gave the victory to his people.
Here is a vivid picture of the need of anyone called to ministry - that incident is a striking illustration of how a church can sustain their pastor through prayer, prop him up with their support and their prayer, and how the victory can come when the people are praying, holding their pastor up.
It has not been my intention to call undue attention to myself. But we are naïve if we fail to see that one of Satan’s greatest strategies is to attack those God has called to ministry and service - of which I am.
He attacks me in my study. He attacks me on the road. He attacks me in my thoughts. He attacks me in my desires. He speaks doubt and fear and frustration into my mind. He whispers lies and wickedness in my ears, and for all of that those in ministry and service in our Lord’s Kingdom need your prayers.
Pray for those who are called to ministry and service
Pray for me.

A Pastor’s Prayer

E.M. Bounds
“That the true apostolic preacher must have the prayers of others – good people to give his ministry its full quota of success, Paul is a preeminent example. He asks, he covets, he pleads in an impassionate way for the help of all God’s saints, He knew that in the spiritual realm as elsewhere, in union there is strength; that the consecration and aggregation of faith, desire, and prayer increased the volume of spiritual force until it became overwhelming and irresistible in its power. Units of prayer combined, like drops of water, make an ocean that defies resistance.”
God can certainly accomplish all of his work without us, but he is well pleased to use and to affect his purposes and to extend his church with us.
Pray for those called to the ministry of the word, that they would speak
Divine Supply of Truth
Boldness
Endurance
Pray for them....Pray for me
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