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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Ephesians 6:19 (from goproclaim.com)

"Pray Also For Me"

Message summary: Today let us continue to pray for one another, particularly those in our God-ordained circle of fellowship. How incredibly encouraging are the words, "I'm praying for you" for those who, like Paul, desire to "fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel."

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"Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should" (Ephesians 6:19,20).

Today, as you're reading this message and have an interest in the things of God, remember; somebody prayed for you. Actually it's very likely that many people prayed. Some, you will recall even as you read our message; others you may not even be aware of. Faithful people spent time on their knees lifting your name up to God.  You might want to pause right now to consider several and thank God for them. Some may be in heaven, but I'm sure God has a way of getting the message to them! Others are still living and may need a brief, but earnest word of thanks from you for their investment in your life.

David Selleck May 2015One of my early ministry memories was a visit to see my Presbyter (supervisor), Pastor David Selleck. I drove over to his church about 60 miles from our home at the time. When I walked into the church Pastor Selleck was pacing back and forth at the front of his church's sanctuary crying out to God on behalf of his congregation. I recall waiting awhile for him to finish since I didn't want to disturb him. He had a very loud and expressive prayer style.

Now, numbering in his eighties, he became a widower several years ago and still faithfully serves the Lord. He closed his Christmas letter this past year with these words, "Some of my goals for my remaining days are: to keep in touch with my family and friends, to be a blessing to others and let my life point them to Jesus."
The above photo was taken last Spring at an ordination service in Reading, PA.

Armor of GodIn today's Scripture passage Paul makes a personal prayer request in the context of telling the Ephesians to put on the whole armor of God. Paul's letter to the Ephesians, written from a prison cell, contains one of the most beloved passages in the Bible. Perhaps while shackled, Paul looked up and observed the armor of his physical captor and developed one of the most striking metaphors of the Christian life (Ephesians 6:10-18). Christians know it as the "armor of God".

He concludes the portion with an element in which he provides no metaphor related to the armor, but delves into the importance of prayer during spiritual warfare: "And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people" (Ephesians 6:18). He simply urges the believers to pray.

In virtually every letter the Apostle Paul wrote he assured his readers of his prayers for them. In several cases the content of these prayers are placed right in the body of the letter and provide a powerful model for our prayers.

Acts 20:36But concluding his section on the armor of God he goes on to say, "Pray also for me". The mighty apostle called on the believers of Ephesus to pray for him. He was writing to these Ephesian believers to whom he had personally ministered (see Acts 19).  It was the Ephesian elders who had bid him such a tearful farewell when he prayed with them upon his departure to Jerusalem (Acts 20:36-38). What a powerful bond of rich fellowship and love they surely shared. And I believe many of the recipients of that letter did pray for Paul.

Then he shares his specific
request with the Ephesian believers. But his prayer request was not, "Get me out of these chains" but rather that he "will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel." Today may God help each of us to fearlessly declare the Gospel as we have opportunity or more often, as we make opportunity. We especially pray for our brothers and sisters in lands where there is great opposition, even physical persecution to those who share the Gospel.

We have very few specific personal requests by Paul recorded in Scripture.  We have a lot more of his prayers for others! But Paul was aware of how dependent he was on the prayers of other believers. Consider those that surely prayed for him just around the time of his conversion:
  • The impact of Stephen's dying plea in the form of a prayer, "Father forgive them".
  • The saintly sister that prayed for his salvation when he was "still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord's disciples". That prayer was abundantly answered!
  • Surely Ananias prayed when he went on his most memorable personal evangelism visit to follow up on Saul's recent conversion.
  • Barnabas doubtlessly prayed often for the young convert.
Some of you pray for us on a regular basis. Thank you so very much! We're where we are today because you, and many others throughout the years of our ministry, took the time to pray.

Today, we encourage you to pray for your pastors and spiritual leaders. The Bible says, "They watch for your souls, as they that must give account" (Hebrews 13:17b).  

Pray for one anotherLet us continue to pray for one another, particularly those in our God-ordained circle of fellowship. How incredibly encouraging are the words, "I'm praying for you" for those who, like Paul, desire to "fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel."

Today we encourage you to keep on praying regardless of the apparent outcome. It's wonderful when we see the evidence of answered prayer but there are many, many answered prayers we will not see until we reach the other side.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we are so grateful for the power of prayer and its positive effect in our lives. Yet we confess that we don't avail ourselves to Your desired means of communication nearly as often as we should. Jesus quoted Scripture when resisting Satan's temptations in the wilderness experience. He spent time in intense prayer when He needed strength, courage, and faith for the trials He endured. We likewise pray for our brothers and sisters, that their faith in You will grow and mature, that they will remain faithful in times of testing. We pray for ourselves that we will stand firm and remain confident in our Christian faith as we oppose the evil forces in this world as well as those sinful temptations that lie right at our heart's door. We will be victorious when we follow Your commands, when we stand firm or take action by the power of Your might, and when we talk often with You, our dearest and closest Burden Bearer. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"How Long Has It Been"  Video  Brooklyn Tabernacle

"Somebody’s Praying"  Video  Ricky Skaggs

"Somebody Kept Praying"  Video   Burress Family

"Prayer For A Friend"  Video  Casting Crowns

"I Must Tell Jesus"  Video  Gold City

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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