GRACE FROM AFAR
God, I need more grace today. Be with me.
Read Ephesians 6:19–24
19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.
21 Tychicus, the dear brother and faithful servant in the Lord, will tell you everything, so that you also may know how I am and what I am doing. 22 I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage you.
23 Peace to the brothers and sisters,[a] and love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.[b]
- Ephesians 6:23 The Greek word for brothers and sisters (adelphoi) refers here to believers, both men and women, as part of God’s family.
- Ephesians 6:24 Or Grace and immortality to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectIf you were a prisoner writing to friends, what would be your prayer request?
Verses 19,20. Paul’s prayer request is consistent with what he has been writing about. If God’s kingdom purposes are supreme, then it goes without saying that explaining those purposes to the world should be paramount. Why is Paul especially concerned here with fearless declaration (also Colossians 4:1–4)? And what about the meaning of ‘mystery’ (Ephesians 3:6 and the note for 7). What do you think Paul means by being ‘an ambassador’? Notice how he ties this role of great status and honor with the dishonor of being ‘in chains.’
After decades of public speaking, I rarely get nervous now. What does give me the jitters is when I know a message is controversial or unpopular. That is when I need courage. As Nelson Mandela wrote: ‘The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear’ (Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom: the autobiography of Nelson Mandela, Little Brown & Co, 1994). To which Paul might add, it is the power of the Lord that makes this truly possible.
Verses 21–23. As ever, Paul’s conclusion reinforces a point from his letter. Intriguingly these words are almost identical to those in Colossians 4:7,8. Through his dear friend, Tychicus, the Ephesians will be reassured about Paul. He truly has peace – with God, his circumstances, his ministry – despite his imprisonment. He wants them to know the same grace.
Think through your calendar for the coming week or month. Are there events that particularly demand God’s strength? Start praying now! Ask some trusted Christian friends to pray too.
Jesus, please give me Your courage to follow Your ways.
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