Thought for Thursday

And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the Gospel. Ephesians 6:19

We had a girl in our school who was more than a little fond of the sound of her own voice. She never seemed to be silent, but was always having something to say. She engaged in every debate and argument, she interrupted other people’s conversations, and made it a point to always be the first one to break a silence. In the school yearbook, it was noted of her: ‘Generally speaking, Shirley is generally speaking’. In the 50 years or so since I have seen her, I have sometimes wondered whether she has ever been at a loss for something to say. People might have wondered the same thing about the apostle Paul, who was always ready to speak up and get involved during the accounts in the book of Acts. For somebody who was always ready to speak up take charge of the conversation, we might find it strange that today’s text has Paul urging the saints in Ephesus to pray for him to be able to speak up.

You and I can watch a preacher delivering a vibrant Gospel message and be impressed with his ability to speak and express himself. But we don’t know what goes on in the preacher’s mind as he is up there addressing his audience. We also don’t know what efforts the devil is exerting to distract and discourage him. But we do know that no Gospel preacher you and I have ever met has ever been able to save a soul. And no Gospel preacher has ever been able to bring a sinner under conviction or to even create an anxious thought. Every Gospel preacher, whether a full time worker or a Sunday evening local brother, has been helpless on the pulpit. Nothing worthwhile has ever been achieved by a man in a Gospel meeting. Salvation is of the Lord. So all the preacher can do is be faithful to the message and follow the Spirit’s leading. And pray, like Paul urged the Ephesians to pray, that God would grant utterance and boldness so that the Gospel would be preached as it ought.

Perhaps Paul wanted prayer that God would enable him to speak effectively. We can certainly pray for that today for those who have the responsibility of preaching. Perhaps Paul wanted prayer that he would be given opportunity to preach. That should be our responsibility today as well, to pray for God to open up areas and accommodations for Gospel meetings. Perhaps Paul was asking for prayer for sinners to come and hear him preach. That too is our responsibility, especially in this day of waning attendance at Gospel meetings. We can put this prayer into shoe leather, too, by inviting and urging people to come and hear the Gospel.

If the great apostle Paul felt the need for prayer for his Gospel work, how much more do the preachers of today need our prayers. Let us not let them down! – Jim MacIntosh

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