Colossians 4:2-4 – “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.”
Ephesians 6:19-20 – “Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.”
In these two scriptures there are five things that Paul says we can pray for. These are what I call “general” prayers. The kind of prayers that all of our missionaries need.
- He says “pray for us”… In other words, just praying for missionaries anywhere and everywhere, as they serve and allow God to work through them.
- He says, “pray that God will open doors”. We can pray that God will open doors of opportunity to proclaim the message of the gospel of God’s love and grace extended to all people. The early church did this. They were watchful about people who needed Jesus and desired chances to share their faith. Paul was already in chains because of the gospel, but that didn’t stop him. We should pray that our missionaries would “make the most of every opportunity” to witness and honor Christ in all that they do.
- Pray that they would proclaim the mystery of Christ. In other words that they would stay true to the message… the only message that can and will transform lives. “There is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”
- Paul says – pray that the gospel is shared clearly. The Judeans had eyes and ears but couldn’t see or hear spiritual truth. There is a way that the gospel can be clearly shared with all people groups. The church has to be careful to share the gospel in a way that is culturally relevant. Finding ways to proclaim this simple, yet profound message. Our missionaries must be able to share the gospel in a clear and understandable and real way. An early church father used to say, “Share Christ at every opportunity, and if necessary, use words.” We ought to pray that God will bless their times of study, and their preparation and delivery of His message. Pray that it will be clear and helpful and encouraging to the people!
- Finally, Paul says we should pray that our missionaries would speak “boldly” or “fearlessly”. Not with self-confidence but with confidence in God. Paul himself said in Romans 1:16 – “I am not ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of God for everyone who believes.” We must pray that our missionaries would know and believe and understand that we have the greatest message that the world has ever known and needs to know! And, that they would not be intimidated, or fearful, nor arrogant and conceited, but bold and fearless in the power of the one who is over all things.
Conclusion; As we think once again about missions and missionaries, we should never place more importance on giving over praying. We should never worry about just being a prayer partner rather than monetary supporters of missions. The Apostle Paul, the first and greatest missionary and church planter, mentions money and support only once in speaking of the Macedonian churches, but he mentions prayer in every letter he sent. Prayer is something we all can do, but we are to be – as Paul says – “Devoted, watchful, and thankful” – for what God is doing all around the world.