OceanSide church of Christ
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The New Man Prays
INTRODUCTION: Colossians 4:2-4
A.) Illustration: Leonard Ravenhill – “If weak in prayer, we are weak everywhere.”
B.) Prayer is to the Christian what breathing is to our bodies.
C.) In Colossians 4:2-4, Paul emphasizes the daily relationship the Christian has with God and his brethren.
D.) Thesis: Christians live prayer!
E.) Paul offers two reasons why Christians live prayer…
DISCUSSION: Christians live prayer, because they recognize…
I. THE OBLIGATION OF PRAYER – v. 2
A.) “Devote yourselves in prayer…” – v. 2a
1. “Devote” translates an ancient word that was used to describe an army is persistent, continued assault upon a city – cf. Ephesians 6:18
a. [Illustration: Revolutionary War – Cornwallis takes Charles Town 1780]
b. Aggressiveness in prayer represents the idea.
2. Do we persist in prayer, or are we satisfied to ask God one time for what we need?
Transition - Two attitudes represent the idea of being devoted in prayer:
B.) “being watchful in it with thanksgiving” – v. 2b.
1. Paul’s word for watchful basically means “to stay awake; to stay alert.”
a. It indicates an alertness for false doctrine – 2:4, 8, 16-23.
b. It also indicates an alertness for the return of Christ – 3:1-4, 6.
c. Yet, Paul means much more than that just staying awake:
i.) We are to be on the lookout for what we need to be praying about continually.
ii.) Constant vigilance to stay alert to needs that must be carried to the throne of God in prayer, for ourselves and for others, is our mutual obligation – 1:9; 4:12
iii.) In the Bible, prayer is often pictured as a fragrant incense that ascends to God – cf. Hebrews 13:15, 16.
1) Remember, if no fire is on the altar, the incense will not rise!
2) If there is to be a fire on the altar of your heart, then you must know what needs to be prayed about.
d. We must be watchful, alert people concerning situations that require prayerful attention and carry them before our heavenly Father.
2. Watchfulness must be balanced with thankfulness.
a. Paul instructed the Christian to be thankful – 1:12; 2:7c; 3:15c, 16c, 17.
b. If all we do is ask and never thank God for His answers, and for His providence in our lives, we have become selfish.
c. To put fervor back into your prayer life, begin with sincere and specific expressions of gratitude to Jesus for the blessing with which He has already surrounded you.
II. THE “OTHERNESS” OF PRAYER – v. 3-4
A.) Praying at the same time for us as well, that God may open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, - v. 3.
1. Look at Paul’s prayer requests: He did not ask them to pray for his personal needs, or from his personal troubles (as he did in other letters).
2. Paul wanted these Colossians (and us) to pray about soul-winning: so that God may open a door for our message – v.3b
a. Specifically for the progress of the great “mystery of Christ” – 1:24-2:3.
b. It is this “mystery” that needs to be preached, because it is only in this message that one can find salvation and hope for eternal life – 1:5, 23, 27
3. Praying for open doors can be frightening because God will open them.
a. When someone new moves in the neighborhood, a door is open for friendship.
b. When sickness comes to a neighbor, a door is opened for compassion and love.
c. When casual a conversation indicates frustration and a lack of meaning in life, a door is opened for talking about the hope of the gospel.
d. Doors of opportunity are opening and closing all around us.
e. We need to be praying about those opportunities beforehand.
B.) that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak – v. 4.
1. Paul also requested prayers for clarity in his presentation of the gospel.
2. Evangelism is not evangelism until the hearer can comprehend what is taught.
3. [Illustration: Romans 8:1 – “Condemnation”]
4. We must pray for the gift of clarity in presenting the gospel!
A.) This kind of prayer is not a part-time activity of the Christian.
1. It is the very essence of the new life!
2. We are to live and breathe this communion with God.
B.) Christians live prayer because of…
1. The Obligation of Prayer
2. The “Otherness” of Prayer