Positive Words Newsletter
#149 / 14th Febrnuary 2008
Expanding your awareness of
"the simplicity that is in Christ"
(II Corinthians 11:3)
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PRAY SPECIFICALLY AND PROCLAIM CAREFULLY
[Colossians 4 -- continued from issue 148]
There are four applications of the power of speech in chapter 4, and we continue to examine the power of speech to pray. It is important to read the previous issue if you have not done so yet.
In verse 3, "At the same time, pray also for us...", so prayer is not just general. Prayer is specific. Now I was brought up in the church and I've heard the old timers pray around the world and back again in 20 minutes! I've been to prayer meetings where you knew that one person would take the floor and would just seem to go on and on and on. So much of that kind of praying was to bless all the missionaries everywhere, bless all the starving children somewhere else. There was nothing very specific about it. Instead of blessing all the missionaries everywhere find one particular missionary that you want to focus your attention on and pray specifically! I believe that's what is being said here.
Paul says "Continue steadfastly in prayer... with thanksgiving" (verse 2) and while you are about it, say one for me too. And not just for Paul; there's Tychicus, Onesimus, Aristarchus, Mark, Justus, Epaphras, Luke and Demas--all mentioned in this passage. Pray for us! Let's be specific in our prayers, and a good way to pray for somebody else is thanksgiving. "Thank you, God, for little Adam. What a great little kid he is." Just see Adam as perfect in health and mind, and be specific in regard to these situations. "Pray also for us."
So the first application of the power of speech for the Christian believer is to give attention to the area of prayer. I know I could teach all day on the matter of prayer. If you go into a Christian bookshop there's just rows of books on the subject of prayer. Prayer is a key, an important key in the Christian life. "Continue steadfastly in prayer."
Then let's go on in verse 3 under the heading of "proclamation". We also use the power of speech to proclaim, "...pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare [proclaim] the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison". And so the second use of the power of speech, after our fellowship with the Father in prayer, is to proclaim. To "open... a door for the word" means to be given an opportunity to share that word. So Paul is asking for prayer that he might get opportunities to talk about God's Word. That's a good way to pray. I've found myself that perhaps because of my personality, being an introvert from way back, but I find it hard to enjoy those kind of people who ram Christianity down other people's throats. Actually its usually religion rather than Christianity that they are promoting.
What God is saying to us here is that there is always a right time, a right place, a right opportunity to share the Word of God. Saying the right word or sharing a book or an audio CD or a DVD at the right time could mean that a person will come to faith in God because of it. I can pray for doors to open that you might say the right thing and others can enjoy the same blessing you do.
Here in verse 3 prayer is requested specifically so Paul could proclaim "the mystery which is Christ" (Greek text). We saw what that was in chapter 1 and verse 27: "To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we proclaim..." You are a container of Christ and because you are a container you are also an expressor of Christ to the world around you. "Christ has no hands but our hands To do His work today, He has no feet but our feet To lead men in His way" as the old poem says.
We use the power of speech to proclaim, to share the Word. And we listen and look for that right opportunity to share that Word. Paul certainly had many opportunities, even in prison. Philippians is also one of the epistles he wrote from prison, and he says in Philippians 4:22, "All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar's household"! At times he was chained to a soldier, as we read in another passage... that's what I call a captive audience. On the basis of what we read in Paul's letters, I'm totally confident that those soldiers heard about Christ. Paul used the opportunity he had. He was chained. He didn't have an opening to hire the local theater for a night to have an evangelistic rally, but he did have people who were chained to him.
He shared the truth with those men and before the end of the book of Philippians he talks of saints in Caesar's household! That is an incredible statement. Picture it today... evangelical Christians working in the Kremlin in Moscow. That's what the situation is like. The Roman empire at that time was opposed to Christianity, and the Communist world is opposed to Christianity, and yet there were saints in Caesar's household. The saints were there because Paul used the opportunity he had to share the gospel even though he was in bonds. He certainly proclaimed or declared the "mystery which is Christ", and we should too. Verse 4, "that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak." He just wanted to share the truth of the Word of God with great clarity.
So there are two good ways to use the power of speech--pray and proclaim. All of us can do this. It's not something that is set aside specifically for apostles or professional preachers. Ordinary folk like us who live on the same street as other people, we can pray and we can proclaim the positive truth of the Word of God.
Here is a list of articles on our site dealing with prayer:
Prayer As A Conversation by Peter Wade.
Be A Thanksgiver, Praiser, Rejoicer by Peter Wade.
Paul and Prayer by E.W. Kenyon.
Thanksgiving versus Complaining by Hannah Whitall Smith.
The Quiet Corner by S.D. Gordon.
Quiet Talks On Prayer by S.D. Gordon.
The Golden Key to Prayer by Emmet Fox.
Prayer by Walter Lanyon.
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