Summary: We are to pray so that we might commune with God and share with Him the most deeply felt needs of our lives. We are to express to God the gratitude and the praise and the joy we feel in Him and in salvation. Paul elaborated on the purpose of prayer.
Title: The Purpose of Prayer
Text: “Meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.” (Colossians 1:3-4).
Bible Reading: Colossians 4:1-4
A pastor is invited to a family’s home for Sunday supper.
The mother brings in the food and they all sit down at the table to eat.
But, before anyone says grace, the children start to eat.
The embarrassed mother gives them a quick reprimand, while the children stare in confusion.
The pastor then offers grace in the stunned silence.
The mother explains, “We don’t always say grace before meals at our house.”
Of course, this has been fairly obvious, but the pastor butters his roll and waits, because he knows there is another line to the script.
“We just take it for granter that God knows how grateful we are.”
Folks, why should we pray?
God does know how grateful we are.
That’s the way it is according to the logic of the dinner table.
The trouble with this kind of attitude is that it doesn’t stay at the dinner table.
It leaves the table and roams all over the house.
And soon we find ourselves saying, “Why pray at all? God knows everything that we need.”
Didn’t Jesus Himself say that God knows all that we need before we even ask Him?”
But Jesus also said, “Therefore, do pray.”
This line of reasoning might lead a person to ask, “What if God refuses to read His children’s mail unless it is addressed to Him?”
We are to pray so that we might commune with God and share with Him the most deeply felt needs of our lives.
We are to express to God the gratitude and the praise and the joy we feel in Him and in salvation.
Paul elaborated on the purpose of prayer in Colossians 4:2-4.
That’s the text for today’s message.
2 Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving;
3 meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains,
4 that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.”
I want to say two things about prayer.
1. The purpose of prayer is seen in the manner of prayer.
Verse 2 said, “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving.”
“Continue earnestly in prayer,” means that we are to pray with perseverance.
Prayer is not to be a spasmodic outburst in a moment of emergency, but it should be persistent calling on God for His guidance and blessing.
Christians should take advantage of every opportunity to pray.
And they should choose those times and places that will have the fewest distractions.
In addition to praying with perseverance, we are to pray with watchfulness.
These two words go together: Pray and watch.
They are very important.
They remind me of an experience that Nehemiah had when the enemy tried to stop him from rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem.
He didn’t just throw in the towel and cry out that he couldn’t do the job.
And he just didn’t say, “Well, we will make it a matter of prayer,” and then go on the way he had been.
No, this is what he told the people; “We have made prayer to God, so now let’s post a guard to warn if the enemy comes.”
This is what Paul tells us here: “Watch and pray.”
An old pastor in Georgia made this statement: “When a farmer prays for a corn crop, God expects him to say ‘Amen’ with a hoe.”’
So if you’re praying about a certain matter, get busy with it.
If you have a burden for someone who needs the Lord, pray for that person.
And then go to that person and tell them the good news; that Jesus died for their sins.
There is a great Christian man in my church who is 83, who tells everyone that he takes all his physical problems to God.
And he has a saying that I love, “You pay the doctors, but God does the healing.”
I agree, but God also uses doctors and medicine to make us well.
So my advice is to pray about it, and then go see a doctor.
This word “watchfulness” literally means to be watchful, to be alert when we pray.
We need to guard against having wandering thoughts and an indifferent attitude.
Prayer should not be reserved solely for times of crisis.
We should pray before the crisis comes so that we have the spiritual resources to meet the testing time.