2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. 3 And 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. 4 Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. 5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
One of my favourite passages… Here Paul, a prisoner, isn’t simply praying (as most of us would) “GOD GET ME OUTTA HERE!”
Instead his heart is for God to be glorified.
He challenges the disciples to devote themselves to prayer, incIdently the word “devote” has the same root word as to “vote” (which has somehow been lost in our modern day political systems where we put a cross on a peice of paper ever 5 years) the idea is more about throwing your life behind your choice of how you live your life. Imagine if that was how we thought of voting, not just a tick in a box but throwing our lives behind now we think the world should be, voting everyday for the world we want to live in and for our children to live in.
This isn’t the polite Anglican intersessions some of us have become used to, here the idea of Praying as though your life depended on it.
The idea too of watching with thanksgiving is the idea of being expectant and grateful that God is at work in his world and too see him answer our prayers.
To often Christians pray with their eyes shut, praying not expecting to see God answer or move in the situation we are praying about… And when he comes through are we grateful? Or do we attribute it wrongly saying this like “that was lucky”?
So, what is Paul urging us to pray for? That people would hear the message of Gods good news of Christ crucified and resurrected.
It’s the message the world is literally dying to hear. Described in Phillippians as “the word that gives life”.
A message so powerful we need Gods help in handling it wisely.
A great picture of God going a head of us and opening doors for our message, which in fact is his message.
We as Christians partake in the mission of God, his mission, he’s the evangelist yet choosing to work through me and you his people.
God is setting up Divine appointments for us to bless and encourage us as we see people drawn to Christ through what he is doing in us.
I love Paul’s humility when he prays that he may ‘proclaim the message as faithfully as he should’.
God wants us to speak his words faithfully and in fact he promises to give us the words to say.
The prayer here shows a humbleness of heart which knows his need of Gods help in evangelism, this help he needs especially when chatting to people who aren’t yet Christians.
Paul realising he’s an ambassador of Christ, how he behaves will effect what people think of Jesus. Therefore he asks God to make him wise in his actions that any encounter he has will draw people to Christ.
Thr idea about being “seasoned with salt” is an interesting one.
Interestingly too much salt makes people sick -which is what happens when people go for it with evangelism unwisely, “zeal without wisdom is folly” (or foolishness the opposite of wisdom) but just enough salt makes people thirsty for the everlasting streams or springs of living water which can only be found in Christ.
This idea of being united and unified in Christ, being joined together in him through the proclamation of the gospel -which binds us all- where one suffers we all suffer and where one rejoices we all rejoice.
Let’s looks at Paul’s prayer, which I think only comes from heart that realises what actually ultimately matters, ordinary people coming to know Christ, his good news and awesome love for them.