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Some might think that after more than 20 years as a full-time apostle used SO powerfully by God, the Apostle Paul should have developed enough spiritual wisdom, boldness and strength to could cut the apron strings loose from time to time regarding his moment-by-moment dependency upon God.

After all, isn’t every believer tempted to think they can lean on their own understanding and power, charting their own course through the minefields and deserts of life?

I face that temptation and I’m sure that you do, too.

We’re wrong when we do so, however.

And we’re setting ourselves up for failure, something I’ve experienced on more than one occasion.

The fact is that our battle is not against flesh and blood but against powers of darkness and against our own fallen nature that tends toward sinfulness and independence from the voice of God.

Paul didn’t write much about his own battle with sin and independence from God, though he did acknowledge it in several of his letters.

He clearly recognized that his mission to share the Gospel with people was greater than what he could accomplish on his own.

As smart as he was, he knew that he wasn’t smart enough to outfox the Devil.

As careful as he was to keep his body in a condition to keep traveling, to keep teaching and sometimes to keep working for income purposes, Paul knew that his obstacles were greater than his flesh and that his fears were sometimes greater than his faith.

That’s why he prayed as he did in the desire for God’s provision and protection. And that’s why he asked the church at Ephesus to offer the same prayers in his behalf.

“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” (Ephesians 6:19)

As a minister of the Gospel, I know that my effectiveness is limited when I’m leaning too much on my own abilities and strength. I don’t want that. I want to imitate Paul who knew that he needed God’s help when doing God’s work.

He knew that his human nature was outgunned in the battle with Satan and that he’d pull back if he leaned on himself.

That’s why he asked for the prayers of others.

That’s why I need the prayers of others.

And that’s why I encourage you to ask others to pray for your courage and wisdom so that people in your life will hear the message of God’s love.

As always, I love you

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