2 Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. 3 Pray for us, too, that God will give us many opportunities to speak about his mysterious plan concerning Christ. That is why I am here in chains. 4 Pray that I will proclaim this message as clearly as I should.
We’ve all heard the message that we need to pray and we know that prayer makes a difference and that through prayer we have access to the God of the universe. We know we can have peace through prayer, and that without prayer we are powerless yet we don’t pray like we should and even talking about this sends many of us on just another guilt trip. In one sense, prayer is simple; but yet, it is also one of the most difficult parts of the Christian life and there are many obstacles to prayer:
• We focus more on asking for things than on knowing God more intimately.
• We’re proud and independent, and if the truth were known, some of us don’t really feel like we need any help
• We view prayer as a chore so we miss the worship for the work.
Verse 2 asks the question, “How do we pray?” and focuses on the characteristics of prayer. We do so with devotion, watchfulness and thankfulness. Verses 3-4 pose another question, 3 Pray for us, too, that God will give us many opportunities to speak about his mysterious plan concerning Christ. That is why I am here in chains. 4 Pray that I will proclaim this message as clearly as I should.
There are at least two things we should say when we pray.
Ask for open doors. It’s amazing to me that while Paul is under house arrest he doesn’t ask for prayers for his release, or for better food, or anything else related to his comfort or his needs. He simply wants an open door for the gospel message. His own physical door was shut and it would have been understandable if he had asked for that door to be opened. Instead he focused on a bigger door. Why? Because he had Christ, he was already free, but there were others who were still bound by sin. Even though he was locked up he was still able to minister effectively and he knew that he needed the prayers of God’s people for the doors to open.
In Scripture, an open door is an opportunity for the gospel. In 1 Corinthians 16:9, Paul says, “a great door for effective work has opened to me.” In 2 Corinthians 2:12, he writes, “I went to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ and found that the Lord had opened a door for me.” Jesus opens and shuts doors for us as we seek Him in prayer. Revelation 3:8: “See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut.” What door do you want to see opened, what opportunities are you praying for? Whose freedom are you really focused on?
Prayer is always relational, it’s where we meet God, its face time with the Almighty, and out of this relationship I can focus on other relationships and start to see people the way my Father does. Time with the Father doesn’t just change the direction of my life it changes the very course of life itself, not only am I redirected but so are my priorities and desires. Has your time with the Father become less about you and more about Him, His gospel and those He sent His Son to die for?
Once God opens a door, it’s essential that we have the ability to proclaim the mystery of Christ with clarity. The goal of evangelism is to make the cloudy clear and we need to ask for clarity. Colossians teaches us that the mystery is that Christ has died for the sins of the whole world, and that when we receive Him by faith, He comes to take up residence in our life as Colossians 1:27 states: “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Do you pray for open doors, opportunities to proclaim to others the gospel of Christ? Do you pray for clarity so that you can clearly proclaim the mystery? I believe that one of the greatest reasons why we don’t read the bible is that we don’t see ourselves in there. We see it as a book written to others but it’s written to you, God is talking about you. Do you to see yourself in His letter to you? I think one of the reasons we don’t share the bible is that we really don’t see what God has saved us from. We have never really pictured ourselves in Hell! It’s not just a book, it’s His spoken Word, His love letter to you and it’s not just about being saved from Hell, it’s God salvaging our relationship so that we don’t have to go through life separated from Him. Yet the sad truth is that many of us are content with a salvation that saves us from eternal separation while we continue to live in spiritual isolation.
Have you had your face time today? Is it time to come and communion with the Father, to talk about the doors that need to be opened and the clarity to share Him with those He has placed around you? Are you ready for the ride of your life? Then trade in your guilt trip for a grace trip.