Good morning my friends. What a wonderful day it is when we stop and consider those beautiful spiritual blessings we have woken to this morning. Do not let go of the thought of them and your day will end as pleasant as it has begun. We are continuing with Ephesians 6.
Now that we have all been told about the armour of God we are ready to do something. That something is simply to live and serve with boldness. Do you realize when you you are protected you become more fearless? Consider hockey players. They wear a lot of protective equipment so when they go to immobilize an opposing player in the corner they do not even think twice about throwing their bodies into it. They check their opponent with all their weight and energy in order to stop him. Now, remove their equipment and see how much force they will use. When we realize the kind of equipment protecting us there should be no fear, only boldness.
As we continue with Ephesians 6 this boldness becomes a prayer request from Paul:
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. vs. 19-20
The two things that strike me me about this are, the request for prayer and teh request for boldness. Paul just finished instructing them on the vital need to be praying, especially the prayer of intercession:
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 saints. v. 18
He says, now since you know this pray for me. This is a serious thing the duty of intercessory prayer. Over the years we have grown weak in this because we have been distracted by our own needs. We pray but we have become self-indulgent in our prayers."On all occasions, with all kinds of prayers and requests", does not sound like once a week prayer meeting where we pray about uncle Bob's wart week after week. Certainly uncle Bob's wart is an important thing but the Church is huge and there are many things that we need to be praying about all day long. We need to be aware of what is going on in order to pray for the Paul's of this age.
Never before have we had so many tools for gathering and sharing information. We have the television, radio, newspapers and the powerful internet. With the internet we can gather information on what is happening in the Church in India, China, Turkey and every where else in the world. But tools have to be used and most Christian do not use them. Most Christians have no idea what is going on in the world let alone neighbourhood. Right now, this morning, a doctor going in for his 24 hour shift, asked for prayer in the same way Paul did; that he would be bold and fearless to present Jesus. Last night, while we were sleeping, a pastor and his family were terrorized by local thugs. Their home was looted and the police did nothing. I could go through a long list of things that happened over night that we remain blissfully unaware of and I could fill your morning with all the prayer requests being put forward right now.
This is sad because we are bold warriors, having no fear to take on the schemes of the enemy. It is not fear that keeps us from praying, I wish it was. If it was fear the Spirit could deal with that in an instant.Instead the thing that keeps us from prayer is laziness and distraction. Even as ministers engaged in employed ministry we are distracted from our duty of intercessory prayer by the busyness of the work. Without prayer we are weak. Without prayer our brothers and sisters are not covered. Without prayer there is no power. TD Jakes tweeted this morning:
"More prayer more power, little prayer little power, no prayer no power... Pray Pray Pray without ceasing."
We know this is the reality of the Church and of our lives but yet we struggle to live it. We have the armour so that we can engage in this vital duty of prayer in boldness and without fear but we are too busy and too self absorbed.
I encourage you today to make some changes. Ask the Spirit to open your eyes to the needs around you and pray as you see them. Choose a different leader to pray for each day and pray for that leader throughout the day, letting them know you are doing it. Start making a list of missionaries you hear about and start praying for them daily. Contact them and let them know. Find a way to gather news about the Church and what is happening in the world and pray. Find out what is happening in your country, city, neighbourhood and pray. Turn prayer into something you actively engage in throughout the day and understand the importance of it. You will be amazed how it will effect your relationship with the Father and with the Church. Be Bold. Be Engaged. Pray.