Tuesday, 22 November 2016
…and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, Ephesians 6:19
In the previous verse, Paul had asked for prayer and supplication to be made “for all the saints.” Now he makes a specific, personal, extra request by saying, “and for me.” He felt that he needed their additional and explicit prayers so “that utterance may be given to me.”
He wanted prayers for the very words he would speak, desiring that they would be in accord with his calling and as led by the Spirit. This then would be a confirmation of what Jesus told the disciples in Matthew 10:19, 20 –
“But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; 20 for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.”
Jesus’ words were directed to those who would speak on His behalf in the transmission of the gospel message. This certainly included Paul. Though his commission came later, he was still an appointed apostle of Jesus Christ, and he desired prayers that his words would not be of him, but rather given to him by the Spirit. This utterance is then further explained by the words, “that I may open my mouth.” In Scripture, the idea of opening one’s mouth indicates an intentional and authoritative utterance for direction, teaching, and instruction. For example, it is used to show this when Jesus spoke out the Beatitudes –
“And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. 2 Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:” Matthew 5:1, 2
Paul’s desires in the opening of his mouth was “boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel.” Vincent’s Word Studies indicates that the word “boldly” is tied to “make known” rather than “open my mouth.” Anyone can open their mouth and proclaim something, but it was Paul’s desire that he do so in order to boldly impart the mystery of the gospel.
This was his passion and his great desire. Until Christ completed His work, the gospel was not fully realized. And even after His work, the mystery of it being open to the Gentile people was still not fully realized. Peter got a glimpse of this in Acts 10, but it is Paul who makes known the full scope of what the church age indicates. This is what he desired to proclaim, and this is what he was asking for concerning prayer.
Life application: Do we suppose in our Christian walk that we can do without prayer? Paul didn’t. He asked for prayer openly, understanding that God does hear and respond to them. Likewise, we should not refrain from praying, or refrain from asking for prayers when the need arises.
Lord God, our precious Heavenly Father – thank You for being attentive to our prayers and searching out our hearts as we walk in this troubled world. You are there, listening and responding according to Your great wisdom. It may seem that at times our prayers are unheard, but this isn’t the case. Certainly you are listening and responding according to a wisdom that we don’t always see or understand. But in the end, every need is met and every prayer is responded to in accord with Your will. Thank You for such great attention to our heartfelt words which are lifted to You in our times of need. Amen.