Useful Bible Studies > Ephesians Commentary > chapter 6

Paul’s own request for prayer

Ephesians 6:19

We can learn much about Paul’s attitudes from this simple request for prayer.

Paul was living as a prisoner, probably in Rome, when he wrote these words. He was waiting for the day when Caesar, Rome’s ruler, would listen to his appeal in a court of law (Acts 25:10-12). Caesar could order Paul’s freedom, or his death.

In the meantime, Paul was living, not in a prison, but in a private house. He was able to meet people, but not to leave the house (Acts 28:30-31). A chain (6:20) joined him to the soldier who guarded him, at all times.

It would not have been wrong for Paul to pray for help in court (see Mark 13:11) or for a more comfortable situation. Perhaps Paul did pray for these things; but he does not ask for prayer about them on this occasion. Instead, his attention is on much more important matters. He asks for prayer that he can explain the gospel boldly - and therefore, clearly (see 2 Corinthians 3:12 and 4:1-2). Even as a prisoner, God had given Paul an opportunity to speak on his (God’s) behalf. Paul was eager to use that opportunity well. (The ‘gospel’ means God’s message about Christ and his death.)

Paul did not complain about his situation. Elsewhere, he explains that he had learned to be content in every situation. In other words, he had learned to trust Christ, and not to depend on himself (Philippians 4:11-13). The strength that comes from Christ is enough for every situation (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). For the same reason, Paul was not worrying about the future. He lived for Christ; he was ready if necessary to die for Christ (Philippians 1:19-23). Paul’s life depended on God - so Paul was glad to be able to trust God about everything (see Matthew 6:25-34).

Next part: An ambassador in chains (Ephesians 6:20)


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© 2019, Keith Simons.