Prayer in the Church
November 18, 2018 Series: The Faithful Church
Topic: Christian Life Scripture: Colossians 4:2–4:6
There is no such thing as a small prayer. Short prayer? Yes. But small… not so much. Prayer is a “bending of the knee” before the Holy God of creation. It’s a declaration that He is the great and sovereign King, and we are his servants. But rather than being a terrifying and fear-filled thing, we have become, through faith in Jesus Christ, children of God. We should not approach God casually or flippantly, but neither do we come before him with fear and trembling – we come a children with a healthy reverence for their Father.
Paul urges the Colossians, “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving” (4:2). Prayer is not a throw-away filler in the order of service on Sunday mornings. It is a great privilege to pray. So what about your prayer life? If someone observed your prayer-life for a month, how might they describe it? Are “steadfast” and “thankful” words that would be used?
Pay attention to Paul’s prayer request in Colossians 4:3-4. He doesn’t ask them to pray for his freedom from imprisonment, or that God would spare his life as he awaits trial. Instead, his mind remains fixed on gospel-driven ministry. He asks for continued opportunities to proclaim the mystery of the gospel to those who have not yet heard. He wants others to hear about and receive the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ. What would happen in our lives and in our world if we began to pray like this?
Finally, in Colossians 4:5-6 Paul issues a final exhortation: “Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” As we hold out the message of salvation, we do so in a way that shows it is a message of life and hope and grace. Notice the emphasis is on Christians “answering” not “lecturing” outsiders. Walking in wisdom towards outsiders means we refuse to speak harsh truth without concern for how it will be received. Instead, we embrace wisdom that guides us to live and talk differently enough that people ask what’s different about us.
As you consider your prayer-life, take some time to pray for wisdom and grace towards those who are not like you. Perhaps there are co-workers or neighbors who are antagonistic, or maybe it’s a long-standing friend with whom you’re afraid to share the gospel because it would be a significant shift in your friendship. Pray for wisdom and grace to put the transformation of the gospel on display, and when they ask “What’s changed?” be prepared with an answer.
(note: there is no sermon audio for this message)