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Evangelistic Prayers (Colossians 4:2-6)

March 10, 2010

Why did the great Apostle Paul in all of his recorded prayers not pray for specific lost people to be saved?  I know it was his prayer and hearts desire for all of Israel to be saved, which she would, even as the Old Testament had already taught—so that was in the will of God.   As well, if he was a “Calvinist,” why did he not pray for the regeneration of the lost so that grace could become irresistible to them?  It is interesting to note that Jesus doesn’t say anything in his model prayer in Luke 11 and Matthew 6 about praying for the lost.  One of the prerequisites for answered prayer is praying in the will of God (1 John 5:14-15).  If it is our desire to see the most people saved, should we not pray regarding the lost like we see the prayers in scripture?  We have recorded prayers, many of them, in the Bible.  The prayer for particular lost individuals to be saved is conspicuously absent.  Could we know better than God?  I don’t think so.  Maybe we have some different standard of judging our prayers than scripture.  As we approach God in His exalted position and powerful nature would we not be benefited by taking into careful consideration what He would like to hear in His throne room?  I recognize that we pray in everything and that in everything our requests are to be made unto God, but that doesn’t mean that we can pray for anything we want (name it-claim it) and we’ll get it.

Now I start this essay this way, because I want us to look at what Paul wants prayed and himself prays in Colossians 4:2-6.  I never heard these types of prayers in the churches where I grew up.  Prayers often come out of church tradition, I believe.  People imitate what they’ve heard others pray.  After a period of time, if they have not heard many prayer texts preached, those prayers can get further and further away from what we see people in the Bible prayed for.  Those prayers would be the way we would know what was in the will of God to pray for.  So let’s consider Colossians 4:2-6 very strongly.  Let’s at least start praying what’s in there, since, well, it’s in there.

Paul commands the Colossian church to “continue in prayer.”  The new man will keep praying.  He doesn’t call on the name of the Lord to be saved and then stop calling upon the name of the Lord.   Justified people will keep calling.   While he continues praying, he is to “watch” to pray, that is, take advantages of the opportunities he has to do so, at the same time giving thanks.  It is the mercy of God that provided the basis for praying in the first place, so the new man should always be thankful while he is looking to God, who has given him that opportunity.

And then what is it that Paul reveals to the Colossian church as prayer requests for himself:

  • “that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ”
  • “That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak”

First, Paul wanted opportunities to preach the gospel.  Second, he wanted to preach the gospel when he had the opportunity, just like he ought to.  One could say that the latter was a prayer for boldness in evangelism

Then Paul had two related imperatives for the Colossian church to practice:

  • “Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.”
  • “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.”

Both of these also pertained to evangelism.  Be a good testimony to the lost, taking advantage of opportunities to preach to them.  That would be a good use of your time.   Say to the lost what they need to hear.  Give them words that will lend themselves toward salvation.  Give them the appropriate scriptural answers that would help them to understand the gospel, what it means to be saved.

As prayer regards the salvation of the lost, I believe our best opportunity to see people saved will be by praying like we see the prayers related to this in scripture.  Alter your prayers.  Don’t expect God to alter his listening.  Pray in His will.

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