Summary: 4 Things to do (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Reading: chapter 4 verses 2-18.
The chapter nicely divides into 4 sections:
(1). Praying (verse 2-4 & 12-13).
2Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. 3And 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. 4Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. 5Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
12Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured. 13I vouch for him that he is working hard for you and for those at Laodicea and Hierapolis.
• One night a father heard his young daughter speaking,
• Although she was alone in her room.
• The door was open just enough;
• That he could see that she was kneeling beside her bed in prayer.
• Interested to find out what subjects a child would bring before God,
• He paused outside her door and listened.
• After tuning in to her speech he was puzzled to hear her reciting the alphabet:
• "A, B, C, D, E, F, G …" She just kept repeating it.
• He didn’t want to interrupt her,
• But soon curiosity got the best of him and he broke into prayer,
• "Honey," he asked, "what are you doing?"
• "I’m praying, Daddy," she replied.
• "Well, why are you praying the alphabet?" he asked.
• She explained,
"I started my prayers, but I wasn’t sure what to pray.
So I decided to just say all the letters of the alphabet and let God put them together however he thinks best."
Unlike that little girls prayer:
• These short verses in Colossians chapter 4;
• Reveals the heart of someone who knows exactly what he wants to say.
4 THINGS TO NOTE:
(1). Be faithful (vs 2a).
• Senator Mark Hatfield tells of how he toured Calcutta with Mother Teresa;
• And how they visited the so-called “House of Dying,”
• Where sick children are cared for in their last days,
• And the dispensary, where the poor line up by the hundreds to receive medical attention.
• Watching Mother Teresa minister to these people,
• Feeding and nursing those left by others to die,
• Hatfield was overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the suffering
• That she and her co-workers face daily.
• He asked her:
• “How can you bear the load without being crushed by it?”
• Mother Teresa replied,
• “My dear Senator, I am not called to be successful, I am called to be faithful.”
(2). Be watchful (vs 2b)
Question: Why do I need to be watchful?
Answer: The New Testament gives us several good reasons.
• We need to be watchful so that we see the answers to our prayers.
• Answered prayer is a great motivator to encourage us to pray.
• Jesus teaches us we need to be watchful;
• Because the Lord is coming and wants us to be ready to greet him.
• Matthew chapter 24 verse 42:
• “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come”.
• We need to be watchful because if we are not;
• We could enter into temptation (Matthew chapter 26 verse 41).
“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak”.
(3). be thankful (vs 2c):
Scottish minister Alexander Whyte was known for his uplifting prayers in the pulpit.
• He always found something for which to be grateful.
• One Sunday morning the weather was so gloomy;
• That one church member thought to himself, “Certainly the preacher;
• Won’t think of anything for which to thank the Lord on a wretched day like this.”
• Much to his surprise, however, Whyte began by praying,
• “We thank Thee, O God, that it is not always like this.”
• When Paul wrote this letter he was a prisoner;
• He had lost his freedom and was constantly watched by four soldiers.
• Yet through out the letter he is never bitter, only thankful;
• Just scan through book and see how the word ‘thankfulness’ comes again and again.
• Chapter 1 verses 3:
• “We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you,”
• Chapter 1 verses 12: “Giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the