Praying for Gospel Conversations
Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.
Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.
My daughter came downstairs the other night and complained that she couldn’t fall asleep. I hate to say it, but rather than counting sheep I’ve found a sure-fire way to guarantee quick slumber that late at night: try to pray!
Paul’s concern in Colossians 4:2-6 isn’t primarily with the time of day you pray, it is a call to be watchful (literally “stay awake” or “be alert”) in prayer. We’re told to give it constant attention to it, always being alert for things that we ought to pray for then making appropriate time to do this important work regularly. Thanksgiving reminds us to expect God to answer, to look for his answers and even thank him ahead of time. While we can pray for anything that comes up, from lost car keys to brain surgery, verses 3-6 direct us to a specific topic that we should be sure not to overlook: Pray for Gospel-conversations.
Pray for those who are known to be evangelists and for open doors of opportunity for them.
Do you know or admire someone who is really good at transitioning a conversation to spiritual things? Some, we’re told in Ephesians 4:11 have a special gift for evangelism. They’re not necessarily formal preachers but simply believers who love to tell others about how they can know the Lord. Of course, whether we’re gifted or not doesn’t take away our own responsibility in the least to make disciples by sharing our Savior, but according to Paul in today’s text, we ought to pray for them. He even gives us the content that we should pray for: Open Doors and Clear Speech. For Paul, an open door might simply to not be in jail; for some of our missionaries around the world that might not be too far from what we ought to pray. Ask that God would give them confidence that the field is still white for the harvest. Ask that God would give them courage to continue in the face of rejection. Ask that God would help them to know where to start with each individual, and ask that they would speak this great truth in love.
There is an additional element of these gospel-conversations that we are evidently supposed to be praying for and this one hits closer to home as we deal with ourselves….
Pray for our own lives to adorn the gospel and that we would be careful with how we relate to people so the gospel is beautified.
Be Wise. Be Gracious. Not merely to those you like, your church friends, or the family that’s easy to get along with (as opposed to the family that’s not!), but toward outsiders. This is directly connected to the concept of evangelism already begun. How effective do you think you’ll be at sharing your faith with your neighbor if you just got on their case for the 217th time about the trashcan being over the property line? If they hear you yelling at the kids? If you’re known for intentionally and flagrantly violating the HOA rules without concern for the feelings of your neighbors? While our lifestyle is not the same things as evangelism, we cannot effectively share Christ with mere words. Rather, our wise conduct, along with our speech must act as a preserving, purifying, and healing influence in our communities. Now THAT will require prayer, won’t it!