“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, that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.” Colossians 4:3-4
The life of a Christian worker is not a safe, cushy life. No, it’s quite the opposite. We don’t seem to market it that way. Even I thought it would be like Disneyland – “The Happiest Place on Earth.”
As a Christian for over 20 years, having served in several ministries since 1996, I have suffered in every way save physical harm. Many overseas missionaries face threats to their health, belongings, and even their lives.
One of the things we should pray for is that the Word of God and the work of the Holy Spirit prospers.
Pray that God Would Open a Door
Not everyone’s heart is open. In Acts it says that God opened the heart of Lydia. In Ephesians Paul prays that the “eyes of our hearts would be enlightened.” (Eph 1:18)
“Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul.” Acts 16:14
We don’t barge down doors for the Gospel. We pray that God would make a way for His Word to be heard. We pray that people would be willing to speak it.
“How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!’” Romans 10:14-15
Speak the Mystery of Christ
Here Paul references everything he said in Chapter 1.
People often want to understand God before they accept Him. They want their finite minds to accept and fully understand the supernatural, the finite. That removes faith entirely. If you don’t have Faith, is it even possible to have a religion? Would you want to serve a god who could be fully understood?
Christ is a mystery. Christ is man yet God. To us that is a paradox, but to Him it just is. Here is Paul’s short summary of who Christ is from Chapter 1.
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight— if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.” Colossians 1:15-23
Make it Manifest
The Christian life is about revealing the life of Christ through adversity. Though we are in chains, we speak about Him. As Paul wrote this letter, he was in prison, unjustly if I may add.
The reasons for our suffering cannot be fully understood. Many of us feel that we should be exempt from the tragedies of this world. We’re not. How else would the treasure – the life of Christ – be revealed?
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.” 2 Corinthians 4:7-10
An exemption from the human experience was never promised. What makes us as Christians different and what manifests the life of Christ is our reaction to our sufferings. Do we rejoice in them?
“I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints.To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:24-27
What do you pray for?
The Bible has several great models for prayer including “The Lord’s Prayer,” John 17, Ephesians 1, 3, and this passage. Pray for those who go to speak the Word in all aspects. Generic prayer is fine, but it’s better if you choose a missionary. Follow their blog, pray for their requests, and rejoice when God answers and is glorified.
“So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11
Questions for Further Thought:
- What is your impression of this passage?
- Has your life ever been in danger?
- Further Study: I encourage you to look up the following verses from which the text is based.
- Colossians 1
- Ephesians 1
- 2 Corinthians 4