Strategy in Prayer and Mission (Colossians 4:2-6)

This passage is sick.

Paul opens by instructing the church to be steadfast in prayer. Not only that but to be watchful to the people, situations, and things they are praying about. This seems like an obvious task but is one that is neglected. The call is to be alert to how God is moving through our prayers. We are to look to see how He answers prayers and be thankful for His work in our lives even if prayers are not answered how we anticipated. Romans 8:28 claims that God works all things together for the good of those who love him.

He then asks the believers to pray for opportunities to proclaim the Gospel. Paul was the champion of missionaries. His life was committed to preaching God’s Word. He knew more then anyone else that his ministry was solely dependent on the Spirit leading him along with  the doors God chose to open and close for him. He pleads with the Colossians to be in prayer for opportunites to preach the Word. He then goes on to tell them how they should be missional. He calls them to conduct themselves wisely and make the most of the time that has been given to them. He also urges them to have their speech be soaked in the Gospel.2

Paul was extremely strategic with his ministry. He understands that his mission is not only rooted and dependent on prayer and the Spirit. He was always looking for opportunities to preach the Gospel and made sure that he was positioned and postured in a way that would illuminate the Gospel. His calling to the Colossians is to take their presence in their culture seriously.

ThinkDo you pray for Gospel opportunities with people in in your life?

Are you alert to how God is moving and answering prayers?

Are you just in the culture, or are you in the culture strategically searching for ways to be on mission?

Love – God for his guidance Our mission as a ministry and as individuals fully relies on God’s sovereign calling and direction.

Live – In prayer, watchful of God’s guidance in our lives. Look for Gospel opportunities and conduct yourself wisely as you strategically place yourself in classes, coffee shops, clubs, jobs,  parties, and hang-outs.

Nick


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6 Comments

Filed under Colossians

6 responses to “Strategy in Prayer and Mission (Colossians 4:2-6)

  1. Andy

    Paul says in verse 2, “being watchful in it (prayer).” In Mark 14:38, Jesus says, “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” With this, I think another aspect of “steadfast prayer” is to help keep us from falling into temptation. Also, Paul mentions to pray “with thanksgiving.” How often, when we pray, are we just praying for things that we need or want? Even if we are praying for good things like for God to move peoples hearts, etc. We should be showing thanks and gratitude in our prayers.

    In verse 5, Paul says to “walk in wisdom towards outsiders.” Are we interacting with outsiders, people who don’t know Christ, in a way that displays God’s glory and proclaims the Gospel? Or, are we adapting our personality based on who we are associating with at the time.

    Last thing in verse 6. “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt.” I think this is a command that we shouldn’t take lightly. The passage doesn’t say, “let your speech SOMETIMES be gracious, seasoned with salt,” but rather, it says “ALWAYS.” I can’t even begin to say how many times my personal speech isn’t gracious. Whether it is towards other friends, parents, coworkers, talking about other people when they aren’t there, etc. My speech should be gracious 100% of the time and should always be showing Christ’s love.

  2. viministry

    Great thoughts.

  3. Steve

    Haha, great insight viministry lol.

    When I read the verses, the first things that jumped out at me were words like “preparation” and “planning”. It seems all too easy to put mission on a back burner instead of letting that be the motivation for making it through your day. Something crazy has happened to me within the last year. I stopped making me the one I was planning and preparing a future for. Me being medical school, girlfriend, work, and all the things that made me happy. Instead, I have chosen to seek Christ first and allowed “all these things to be added to me as well” (Matthew 6:33).

    Really strive to make mission your first priority. I know it’s easy to try to do things on your own- it’s something I struggle with to this day. Really try to live and breathe Christ in every action and decision you make. I hate the acronym WWJD, but I would encourage everyone to pray that God will give you Christ’s eyes and to see the world the way he sees it. I think you might be a little surprised at what you start seeing.

    If I ever start to sound like I’m talking down to anyone, please tell me. My biggest fear is that I write in a tone that elevates myself above struggle and conflict. I’m in the same position as everyone else, I just difficult sometimes to find a balance in sharing the ideas and the practices that have given me success and have given me so much joy. That’s all I mean to do. I only mean to share what I have found to bring victory in Christ. He alone deserves praise for all that is good within me.

  4. Steve

    I didn’t add as much substance as I intended to, so I’ll follow it up and hopefully be a bit more concise here.

    I want to be intentional. I want to pray for things that matter and to always be prepared for anyone who asks me a question, and not only be prepared for it, but plan ahead of time for that opportunity to come. Being prepared means you have already thought about what could happen in your head and you have taken the proper steps to have what you need to have when you need to have it.

    The things I usually try to be prepared for to make the most of every opportunity:

    I carry extra cash with me in case I have the opportunity to cover my guest’s meals. I try to have the mentality that the people I am ministering to are my guests. All my effort goes into blessing their lives however I can.

    This includes time. Something I’m not the best at, but I need to work on getting what I need to get done in the time I have to do it so I have free and open time to give to whomever needs it.

    And perhaps the most crucial part of my preparation and what fuels it all is being prepared by reading the word. Meditating on it daily and being in constant communion with God. That will make you saltier than the ocean baby. I know Paul talks a lot about prayer in this passage, and it’s so true. God will still be God, but I truly believe our prayers affect how effective we are in ministry. After all, it is a pillar of VI and we wouldn’t “waste” time on Wed night if we didn’t feel prayer was essential for ministry.

    That is what I meant by preparation and planning. Read the word, meditate on it daily, looking to see the world through Christ’s eyes. Being in constant communion with God so that your heart is in rhythm with his heartbeat.

    So much for being concise. I’m awful at this.

  5. Sam

    Good points Andy,

    I really like the “seasoned with salt” bit. Paul is telling us to make our outreach attractive, exciting, and tasty. Well, maybe not tasty, but you get the point. So many times we revert to just “telling people about Christ.” It’s not a bad thing but Paul is telling us to strategize and make our evangelism appealing. I think this is a great way to use the gifts God has given us; to get creative and have fun being missional.

    Always be gracious…that’s not easy, and it’s not as easy as it sounds. To always be gracious in our speech means we need to always be gracious with our actions as well. This is not an easy task but it is demanded of us.

  6. Zach

    I think that when reading this passage it is easy to put all our focus and attention on what Paul is saying about prayer and treat the other content as sub-points or just sort of skip over them all together. That was my experience. I had to read the passage several times to really get past the first paragraph and grasp the other stuff. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to say prayer is over-rated, but I believe the rest of the passage is equally important.

    What really jumped out at me when I did this was verse 5, specifically when Paul instructs us to make the best use of our time. This verse really convicted me. It really revealed to me how much of my time I waste when I am spending time with non-believers. I wish I could say that my speech is always filled with the Gospel or is always geared at spreading the love of God to my friends but unfortunately that is not the case. Imagine what kind of impact we could have in Tempe if our words and our life continuously reflected the Gospel.

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