Sometimes it’s hard to know what to say
It must’ve been hard for Paul. He had been schooled as a Pharisee, was extreme in his zealousness but then did a 360 to follow Jesus. He would’ve lost all credibility with anyone who knew him.
On top of that he had continual affliction from persecution. When you read his list of suffering you’d understand why he could struggle to open his mouth:
Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea.
I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not. (2 Cor 11:25).
Everywhere he went he was physically and mentally tormented because he wanted to share the Gospel. I could understand him hesitating, but Paul never once shied from speaking about Jesus. In fact, he asked for believers to pray for him to be bold and to speak forthrightly (Acts 4:31).
Paul even prayed for the right words.
Pray words will be given me to fearlessly speak the gospel (Eph 6:19).
I find that so encouraging. Here was the great Paul who brought the gospel to the gentiles, who penned numerous letters in the New Testament, who established churches all over the ancient world and he’s asking for prayer for the right words.
It’s great to know that we can ask for help to find the right words, too. The right words to offer words of comfort from Jesus to someone mourning, or sick or grieving a lost relationship. The right words to say about Jesus to a casual contact. The right words to speak boldly about our Lord and King.
Asking for help from God so we can honour Him with our words is exactly what saints have been doing for millennia. Even Nehemiah offered a quick prayer for the right words when King Artaxerxes asked what did he want (Neh 2:4).
Like David, let's ask that our words be wise, righteous, good and full of praise to God .
169 May my cry come before you, LORD; give me understanding according to your word. 170 May my supplication come before you; deliver me according to your promise. 171 May my lips overflow with praise, for you teach me your decrees. 172 May my tongue sing of your word, for all your commands are righteous. (Psa. 119:169-172).
All quotations are from the NLT.