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A Powerful Thing To Do In A Pew!

A little nine-year old girl named Lois prayed: "Dear God, please help me in school. I need help in spelling, adding, history, geography, and writing. I don't need help in anything else." That little girl was onto something many older people in our secular world refuse or neglect to acknowledge — we need God's help in many different things, and we ought to ask Him for it continually. In Ephesians 6:10-17 the apostle Paul reminds us Christians are involved in up-close, hand-to-hand combat with the devil.. . the wicked one" who uses "wiles" (or schemes) and "fiery darts" to assail our faith. Like a military drill instructor teaching new arrivals at boot camp how to survive on the battlefield, Paul urges every Christian to be strong in the Lord" and to "take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand in the evil day." Every day we live a fight is taking place — not on a battlefield somewhere far away — but all around us. And sometimes even inside us (see 1 Peter 2:11, etc.)! The devil is serious about destroying our souls, even if we are spiritually asleep and are not serious about him. It is easy to see Paul was in a fight. After all, he was an ambassador in chains" (vs 20) in a Roman prison as he wrote. Chained to a Roman solider, all because of his commitment to live for and preach Christ. By the time Paul wrote Ephesians (around A. D. 62), he had already shaken many of the world's major cities with the soul-saving and life-changing Gospel of Jesus Christ crucified, buried, and raised the third day. Now he is in prison, his hands bound in chains. But prison is not in him, and his heart and mouth and pen are as free as ever! He continues to write and preach from a prison cell. That's what you can do for Christ when you are sold out to Him in full commitment and consecration. Rather, that is what Christ can do through you.

Let's note what Paul called on people in the pews to do. Near the end of Ephesians, he appeals to members of the assembly of Christ at Ephesus to stay engaged in the Lord's work through knee-mail! Verses 18-20 read: "praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints; 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, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak." Paul was a praying preacher and he calls on members of the church at Ephesus to be praying people. His words remind us there is plenty people in the pews can do to help preachers, even preachers who preach far away (or, as the text reveals, in prison!). We can pray! Closer to home, while the preacher preaches, we can pray! People do all kinds of things in the pew that don't spiritually help them or anyone else seeking to hear the word of God, and some of it actually hinders — talking, texting, clipping fingernails, reading (not the Bible), playing with babies, turning around to stare at others, etc., etc. Paul's words in the text above remind us that a very powerful thing to do in a pew (and out of it, too!) is pray — for preachers and "all the saints." And, we might add, for sinners who need to obey Christ. This Sunday some people will hinder the preaching by what they do in the pew while others will help because they pray. Now, what will you do in your pew?

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ