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Question and Answer

I was taught not to pray for the leaders of the church, only to ask them to pray for me. Since the apostle Paul was a devout Christian and deeply committed to Christ, why did he ask for prayer in Ephesians 6:19?

Your question merits much reflection on our part. The apostle Paul was one of the godliest men who ever lived. He was a powerful missionary, church planter, preacher, Bible teacher, and mentor (see Rom. 15:14–21; 1 Cor. 3:10–15; Eph. 3:8; 1 Tim. 2:5–7; 2 Tim. 3:10–11). Under the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit, he penned the book of Romans, the great doctrinal letter of the New Testament. He wrote 1 and 2 Corinthians. He penned Galatians, a book that some scholars call the Magna Carta of Christianity. Paul wrote Ephesians, a book filled with the mighty mountain ranges of doctrinal truth and practical implications. Paul wrote Philippians, the precious thank-you letter of friendship, with every line throbbing with joy. He wrote Colossians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, Philemon, 1 and 2 Timothy, and Titus. Furthermore, half of the book of Acts is devoted to the missionary journeys of Paul.

Yet this Paul, the great Apostle, asks for prayer for liberty to preach the gospel in the context of his imprisonment. He could not exercise his ministry in his own strength. He stood in need of God’s grace, strength, and power. He understood that one of the principal ways God’s grace and power could be unleashed in his life and ministry was through the prayers of God’s people on his behalf. Paul requested prayer numerous times in his letters (see Rom. 15:30–32; 1 Thess. 5:25; 2 Thess. 3:1). If Paul realized that he needed prayer, we can rest assured that all of us—whether we are church leaders or the people in the pews—stand in the need of the prayers of God’s people. We, therefore, should not hesitate to ask other Christians to pray for us.

BY Dr. Winfred O. Neely

Dr. Winfred Neely is currently working towards his third degree in at the University of Bristol, England. An ordained minister and full-time professor of pastoral studies at Moody Bible Institute, Winfred has served churches across the City of Chicago, the near west subburbs, and Senegal, West Africa. He and his wife Stephne have been married for forty years and have four adult children and nine grandchildren. 

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