2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. 3 And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. 4 Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. 5 Be wise in the way you act towards outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
Hands up everybody who thinks that their prayer life is satisfactory in all respects.
How are you doing in making the most of every opportunity to share the gospel with those who don’t yet know the Lord Jesus?
Hands up everybody who is satisfied that their responses to others are always completely gracious and appropriate, attractive and sharing our faith appropriately.
These are really challenging themes, aren’t they? The apostle Paul puts his finger on many vital issues where we need to apply ourselves diligently and seek the Holy Spirit’s intervention, if we are to live out our calling.
Our approach to prayer should be watchful and thankful. We need to devote ourselves to prayer. Far from squeezing prayer time into the edges of our day (if at all), we need to devote ourselves, spending quality time in prayer before our Lord. We need to be resolute and persistent in prayer, recognising God’s blessings and giving him thanks for them.
Note that the apostle also urges the Colossians to pray for him. We all need to be supported in prayer by our fellow Christians. Notice the focus of Paul’s request for prayer. He asks for opportunities to share the gospel. He asks that he may do this clearly. Recall that he is in prison and his life is at risk. He does not ask for relief from his difficulties and restrictions, just for opportunities to be effective as he shares the gospel where God has placed him.
Finally in our passage for today Paul urges the Colossians to be wise in their actions towards those who don’t know Jesus. They need to seize every opportunity to make him known. They need to do this in ways which are gracious and full of flavour. If they do this correctly their answers will be the right ones, the answers which will lead people to Christ.
So what should we do? Here are a few suggestions:
Let’s introduce some structure to our day, so we can be devoted to prayer. Let’s start modest, but make some time. Let’s start with thanks and don’t forget to open with God’s word.
Let’s pray for others, and particularly our church leaders at St. John’s, as well as national church leaders. Let’s pray for gospel focus, that they will proclaim him faithfully and clearly, as they should.
Let’s pray for more opportunities to share the Lord Jesus with others, and for boldness for ourselves in seizing them.
Let’s work on our conversations, focusing on grace. Let’s pique people’s attention with the surprising and attractive aspects of our Lord, so that people will be curious and will want to follow up.
Maybe we could talk with a trusted brother or sister in Christ and share how we’re doing in developing these disciplines? They are tough and it’s easy to feel we are not making progress. Stick at them, the Lord’s well done is more than worth it!
Thank you for the precious gift of prayer, through which we can come to you in thanks and praise. Thanks also for the glorious gospel, which is the word of salvation and life to all who will receive it and respond to it in repentance and faith.
Give us grace to share the gospel as we should, send your Holy Spirit so that our discussions will be seasoned with salt. Help us to answer those who ask us to give the reason for the hope which is in us and to do this clearly and faithfully.
We ask this for your honour and glory.
Tomorrow’s passage: Colossians 4:7-18