I. Praying Well

A. How We Ought To Pray Vs. 2, 12a

1. In Colossians 1:3, Paul proclaimed that he always prayed for them.

2. In Colossians 1:9, Paul said that he did not cease to pray for them.

3. Those verses reminded me of a pastor friend that I have never met face to face.

a. A man of prayer, a man of consistency, a man who loves me & my family

b. Oh, that you or I would come to mind when people read these verses.

4. Continue earnestly – great effort, steadily applied. (Like pulling teeth, literally)

a. To continue all the time. To persevere & not faint. Things that are a must.

b. The so called “non-negotiables” of life, i.e. morning coffee, certain routines

c. May regular, earnest prayer become a non-negotiable part of our lives.

5. Being vigilant– to be wakeful, literally/spiritually. Not droning, but thinking

a. Our dog April: one ear pointed @ me, the other back towards the kitchen.

b. Aware of her surroundings. Listening, paying attention.

6. With thanksgiving– we ought always to give thanks. Thanksgiving in prayer.

7. V. 12- Always laboring ferventlyagonizomai– to contend as in athletics.

B. Praying For Open Doors Vs. 3, 4

1. Paul saw prayer as essential in “opening doors” for speaking about Jesus.

a. Softening of hearts in the Roman guards? Spiritual interest in Jesus?

b. Opportunity to speak to Roman officials and commanding officers?

c. Release from prison so that he could continue preaching?

d. Whatever it was, it was about the purposes of God.

2. Paul recognized that speaking of Christ requires more than good intentions, good literature, good resources, or much knowledge. It is a spiritual battle.

3. Paul overflowed with insights re. Jesus, but he knew he still needed prayer for God to work in creating opportunities for him to speak of Christ.

4. Abraham Lincoln- “If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six hours sharpening my ax.”

5. How often we “try to serve Jesus”, and forget about prayer. See 1 Cor. 16:8, 9

6. We often pray for “open doors”, but for our blessings, & not for sharing Christ.

7. When Paul spoke of open doors, it was regarding speaking about Jesus to others.

a. Acts 14:27; 1 Cor. 16:9; 2 Cor. 2:12

b. Not wrong to use the phrase other ways, but may we remember this way

c. Next time you talk about “open doors”, also remember to pray like Paul.

d. Pray for people who don’t know Jesus.

e. Pray for yourself to be willing and ready to speak about Jesus.

8. Make manifest– Paul asked for prayer so that he could speak clearly re. Jesus

C. Praying For Christian Maturity

1. That Christians stand perfect and complete in God’s will is an ongoing need.

2. We all know what “our will” for our lives is.

3. Do you know what God’s will is for you?

4. Do you ask for prayer, that you may know and do God’s will?

a. There is God’s universal will for all Christians. (1 Thess. 4:3, 4)

b. There is God’s specific will for us as individual Believers. (Col 1:1)

II. Public Life

A. Living Well V. 5

1. Brian Bell– “The Christian is the world’s Bible”.

2. Walk in wisdom -wisdom requires right application of knowledge; consideration

3. Redeem the time-In our lives, we will spend 6 months @ stoplights. Pray!

4. “Success is when preparation meets opportunity”.

5. In the O.T., Queen Esther faced one of those moments. She was a beautiful Jewish girl who had become the queen of the empire. She found out that an evil plot had been hatched to wipe out her entire race. She was in a unique position to do something, but she hesitated. She might risk her position. She might even be killed herself. Her cousin Mordecai told her:

a.Esther 4:14 “For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

b. Esther “redeemed” the “time” by risking her position and even her life in exposing the plot and saving her people.

B. Speaking Well V. 6

1. Speech with grace– graciousness, beauty, charm, loveliness

2. Seasoned with salt- with wit, with clear sense, with flavor, with purity

3. That you may know– having the ability to speak appropriately to each person

4. Barclay on Colossians 4:6: Let your speech always be with gracious charm, seasoned with the salt of wit, so that you will know the right answer to give in every case.

a. “Christianity in the minds of many is connected with a kind of sanctimonious dullness & an outlook in which laughter is almost a heresy. . . . The Christian must commend his message w/the charm & the wit which were in Jesus himself.”

b. Peake – “They must strive to cultivate the gift of pleasant and wise conversation, so that they may be able to speak appropriately to each individual (with his peculiar needs) with whom they come in contact.”

5. Just as we try to find the right greeting card to express love, regret, hope…

a. As the writer or playwright wrestles with the right words…

b. As the singer considers every varied form of how to present a song…

c. So ought the Christian to think about how to speak of Jesus.

6. Are we expertly knowledgeable on explaining our work or hobby…?

a. And yet have never thought of or spoken phrases re. Jesus…stumbling verbally?

7. Not all are great speakers, but we all can grow in ability to speak well of Jesus.

a. Passion creates interest.

b. Interest seeks knowledge.

c. Knowledge brings skillful readiness.