“Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair because you know that you also have a Master in heaven. Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. 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. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. Tychicus will tell you all the news about me. He is a dear brother, a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. I am sending him to you for the express purpose that you may know about our circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts. He is coming with Onesimus, our faithful and dear brother, who is one of you. They will tell you everything that is happening here. My fellow prisoner Aristarchus sends you his greetings, as does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas. (You have received instructions about him; if he comes to you, welcome him.) Jesus, who is called Justus, also sends greetings. These are the only Jews among my co-workers for the kingdom of God, and they have proved a comfort to me.” (Colossians 4:1–11 NIV11-GKE)
What is your story?
Everyone has a story to tell!
Where you were born, and where did you go to school! If I ask you one thing about your life, something that will bring you happiness, I guarantee that you will give me all the details. People in Ireland are known to be storytellers! No wonder this island of Ireland is known as Saints and Scholars! Meaning there is a strong missionary, monastic history.
In these verses from 2-6, we have here the very heart of the story. It is the background or the design of how the story is told. In other words, it is all the elements that bring a story alive. It is the storyboard of what you and I hear if you like. I want to tell you that we are a fantastic storyboard, where the Lord is writing with us a story of redemption, salvation, and freedom.
Paul is letting us know that our lives are in the public square for all to see, for the world to see!
“For it seems that God has put us, apostles, on display at the end of the procession, like those condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to human beings.” (1 Corinthians 4:9 NIV11-GKE)
This is not only for the ordained but for all of us. The world sees us, watches us, and is ready to point out whether we are who we say we are or not!!
Peter says that we are royal people, a people that moved from deep darkness into the beautiful light of the Gospel, and he adds that we are royalty to declare, to announce the fantastic work of the one who called us from darkness to light! So let me ask you this question: What is your story with the Lord? Tell me who it happened to. Tell me how you came to faith in Christ. Tell me how you left the life you once lived, and now you live to please your Lord and Saviour.
No one can see you in the dark, but in the light, we all can see you!!!
Living on prayer means that we are to devote ourselves to intimacy with the Lord.
• It is not optional! We are called to pray. “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” (Acts 2:42 NIV11-GKE)
• There are two elements when we pray, and Paul says we need to be watchful and thankful. What does he mean?
• To be thankful means to assume an attitude of gracefulness. We know that what we have can only come from the Father of Grace. It is a gift, accessible, and we don’t work for it. Thankfulness reveals our place, and it is positioning ourselves in line with heaven’s work for us. Being thankful unleashes favour from the Lord and men. “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” Colossians 2:6–7 NIV11-GKE)
• We are told to watch when we pray! When I pray for someone, I usually pray with my eyes open. I want to see what the Lord is doing and also want to be aware if there is any manifestation taking place when I pray.
• It also means that we pray, keeping an eye open to what is happening in the world and the enemies of God.
• We pray with purpose in mind, and we need to be informed about the things we pray for.
• Paul is providing vital information about what to pray for!
• Who prays for you? Who do you have next to you who prays for you? We must open ourselves and ask for prayer.
• Paul did this! He is praying for God to give him opportunities to share the Gospel. He asks to pray for: Doors to be open so that he can proclaim and declare the mystery of the Gospel.
“Then they passed through Pisidia and came to Pamphylia. And when they had spoken the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia, and from there, they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to God’s grace for the work they had fulfilled. And when they arrived and gathered the church together, they declared all that God had done with them and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles. And they remained no little time with the disciples.”
(Acts 14:24–28 ESV)
• He asks for a specific prayer: Pray that I proclaim the Gospel message!
• Not even chains are going to stop him from declaring and proclaiming.
• Prayer is the wood we provide for the fire, and God brings the fire!!
• We are to have a lifestyle of prayer!!
“Pray also for me that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the Gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.” (Ephesians 6:19–20 NIV11-GKE)
“Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” (Colossians 4:5–6 NIV11-GKE)
• Why is this so important? Because it pleases the Lord, the world is watching if we represent Jesus well.
• Live well and see that your lifestyle aligns with the Gospel. Paul says it here in Colossians “walk in a manner worthy of the call you have received.” This is the most effective evangelism. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders. Make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt!
So that you may know how to answer everyone!
This is, for me, the very essence of speaking prophetically. To talk to people as God is speaking to them. The heart of the prophetic words is to encourage, build up and strengthen people’s lives. When we do that, we are talking in the grace given to us by Christ and with words and actions seasoned by God’s flavour.