Summary: A church must remember that prayer is so important in preparing His people to live for Christ and to share His love with others as we carry out His Great Commission.
PRAYER IS SO IMPORTANT FOR A CHURCH Colossians 4:1-18
Proposition: A church must remember that prayer is so important in preparing His people to live for Christ and to share His love with others as we carry out His Great Commission.
Objective: My purpose is to challenge God’s people to be renewed through prayer to be able to accomplish our Lord’s purpose for our church.
Let’s begin with some fast facts about prayer. According to pollster George Barna, almost 90% of Americans say they pray in a recent poll. Over 60% of unchurched Americans say they pray. Of those unchurched Americans, one in three believe that prayer makes a difference in their lives. Among “born again” respon-dents, nearly 70% say that God personally answers their prayers. But exactly how do Americans pray? Barna offers these insights:
95% express gratitude to God. 76% ask God to forgive particular sins.
61% make specific requests of God.
So how is your prayer life? I imagine that your answer would be, “It depends. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s not so good.” Prayer can be easy or difficult depending on many factors. There are days when we seem to touch heaven with our prayers, and other days when our words seem to bounce off the ceiling. But regardless of how we feel, if we want to know God better, nothing matters more than our prayers. Did you know that nearly 1,400 verses in the Bible speak about prayer? If you want to grow spiritually, you must learn to pray effectively. There is no shortcut to spiritual growth. Prayer is essential.
Have you ever been accused of praying too much? Probably not. The point is not how much we pray—prayer should be our way of life. From a life of prayer, a genuine and powerful witness impacts the world in which we live. God never challenges us to a life of shallowness. We are on earth to make a difference. What instructions does God give the Christian believer? Prayer is such a vital part of the believer’s life. God has chosen to change and do certain things through those who pray. Who is counting on your faithful prayers today?
The immediately preceding paragraph (3:18-4:1) consisted of a series of special appeals based on the several relationships in the Christian household. Now Paul returns to counsel that applies to the entire church. Most of what he says relates to the personal devotional life (vv. 2-5), but the section closes with an appeal for wise behavior toward non-Christians (vv. 5, 6). Maclaren therefore aptly remarks that the injunctions given in this paragraph touch "the two extremes of life, the first of them having reference to the hidden life of prayer, and the second and third to the outward, busy life of the market place and the street.… Continual prayer is to blend with unwearied action."
William Barclay writes, "Even for the best of us, there come times when prayer seems to be unavailing and to penetrate no farther than the walls of the room in which we pray." Yet we need to continue to pray and seek God’s face.
Have you ever wondered what to say to a co-worker, neighbor or friend that would influence them for the cause of the Christ? Have you ever wished you could say or do something that would help you to be more effective witness for Christ? The apostle Paul gives us some timely principles by which Christians can live that would help us all to be more effective in our relationships to others. He writes to Christians in Colosse and as he closes out the section on Christian living he gives this advice
found in these verses.
I. COMMUNICATION: BE DEVOTED TO PRAYER (vvs. 2-4) “Continue earnestly in prayer” This isn’t just a general statement about the importance of prayer, but prayer with a purpose. He tells them to "pray, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ...pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should." Here are characteristics of a satisfying and spiritual prayer life:
1. Faithfulness (v. 2a) “Continue earnestly in prayer”-- "Be steadfast in your prayer life; be devoted; don’t quit!" God sometimes delays the answer to increase our faith and devotion and to accomplish His purposes at the right time. God’s delays are not always God’s denials. One thing is crystal clear from this passage and that is that it is God’s will that we pray to Him. We all struggle to know the will of God for our lives, but there are some things that you do not have to struggle to know. One of them is that God’s will is that you pray to Him. Paul is exhorting the Colossian saints (and us) to pray often and regularly. Seek times of quiet communion with God.