• johned@aibi.ph
Eternity 100 - Praying For A Door For The Word

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(Colossians 4:2-6 NKJV) Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; {3} meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, {4} that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. {5} Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. {6} Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.

Watch and pray! "Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving". We are not to be sleepy unguarded Christians but alert watchmen, seeing the world around us and bringing the forces of heaven to bear through prayer. We are like artillery spotters scanning the horizon and then precisely directing the spiritual fire to the appropriate spot long before the forces of wickedness can pose a real threat to the church.

In our prayerful vigilance we are not to lose our spiritual poise or surrender to vague apprehensions, fears and paranoias. Wild rumors and anxious imaginings do not help the cause of spiritual warfare but rather makes it seem foolish and bizarre. So Paul adds the phrase "with thankfulness". We are to be a thankful and positive people, strong warriors, grateful guards of the Kingdom of God. Our vigilance is to be a cheerful alertness. We are to remain positive in the strife.

The Colossians were not only to pray for themselves but for Paul and for the progress of the gospel: "meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, {4} that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak." Though Paul was in prison he had not given up hope of ministry and was requesting prayer that he be able to witness in jail.

Paul was not asking for the prison door to be opened (though he did ask for prayers for his release in other places). Rather he was asking for a "door for the word", an opportunity for the gospel. In the midst of a dark dungeon Paul wanted to manifest the mystery of Christ, to declare in apostolic power the presence of the Kingdom of God!

Paul's desire to minister, even in prison is an illustration of a greater principle - using time well for God. Paul calls it "redeeming the time" turning evil times, persecution and prison into opportunities for the gospel. He tells the Colossians to think carefully about their relationships with non-Christians and to consider how they can be best used to share Christ. "Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time."

Redeeming the time is not just about having "good time management" its about having "godly time management". Its about making every encounter and every minute, a "divine encounter" and a redeemed minute. To cleverly plan the time for adultery or to time a bank-robbery to the milli-second, is not redeeming the time. It simply being efficiently wicked. We need to look at our calendars with the two great commandments in mind and ask "How can I best use my time to love God" and "How can I best use my time to love my neighbour". (Maybe less TV and more visiting people?)

Paul's first clue in time management is speech management! Its making every word count. According to John Maxwell the average worker spends 70% of their day communicating. If each word is spoken with grace and seasoned with salt - what a difference it would make! When we meet non-Christians what is our speech like: Angry? Turbulent? Gossiping? Trivial? Profane? Lets make it full of grace and truth, gracious enough to be winning and salty enough to make an impact.

Lastly we are to put our brains into gear before opening our mouths. We are to think about the person and their needs. Instead of formulas and sales pitches we are to "answer each one" as individuals, knowing their spiritual needs and the proper response. The evangelist Charles Finney said there were different kinds of non-Christians - hardened, curious, awakened and convicted I think were the categories. The hardened needed a sharp awakening to the reality of God - often in the form of suffering. The curious needed more information and to come to see that the gospel applied to them personally. The awakened were aware that the gospel applied to them but were dithering about commitment and needed exhortation to "do business with God". The convicted were those who were under the deep work of the Holy Spirit and simply needed the plan of salvation presented clearly to them and they would accept. People are at different places spiritually and need you to talk to them at their point of need.

Let's ask God to open the door for us to proclaim the gospel - even if our circumstances are adverse - and also that God may have grant us the wisdom and the discipline to take advantage of every opportunity that comes our way.


John Edmiston
Asian Internet Bible Institute
email: johned@aibi.ph

Prayer Point: As you may have heard the Australian Embassy in Manila has been closed and Australians have been advised to defer travel or leave the Philippines because of "real and credible" impending threats of bombings and kidnappings. Well, as an Australian missionary in Manila I would appreciate your earnest prayers for the protection of myself and my wife Minda at the moment. Also, in light of the above study, pray that a door for effective ministry may be opened to me.

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