Book of Colossians Bible Studies
Col 4:2-6 Prayer and the Walkie-Talkie of sharing your faith
by I Gordon
 ↩ Let me read a few quotes concerning prayer from saints of God in days gone by.
1. 'I would rather teach one man to pray than ten men to preach.' Charles Spurgeon
2. "God does nothing except in response to believing prayer." John Wesley
3. "The most important thing a born again Christian can do is to pray." Chuck Smith
4. "You can do more than pray after you have prayed; but you can never do more than pray until you have prayed." A.J. Gordon
5. 'The one concern of the devil is to keep Christians from praying. He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work and prayerless religion. He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but he trembles when we pray.' Samuel Chadwick
6. 'The man who mobilizes the Christian church to pray will make the greatest contribution to world evangelization in history.' Andrew Murray
7. "Eighteen-year-old Hudson Taylor wandered into his father's library and read a gospel tract. He couldn't shake off its message. Finally, falling to his knees, he accepted Christ as his Saviour. Later, his mother, who had been away, returned home. When Hudson told her the good news, she said, "I already know. Ten days ago, the very date on which you tell me you read that tract; I spent the entire afternoon in prayer for you until the Lord assured me that my wayward son had been brought into the fold."
8. "Beware in your prayers, above everything else, of limiting God, not only by unbelief, but by fancying that you know what He can do. Expect unexpected things 'above all that we ask or think.'" Andrew Murray
9. "Prayer will make a man cease from sin, or sin will entice a man to cease from prayer." John Bunyan
10. When asked how much time he spent in prayer, George Muller's reply was, "Hours every day. But I live in the spirit of prayer. I pray as I walk and when I lie down and when I arise. And the answers are always coming."
 ↩ I read the following illustration about persevering prayer : ' I look at a stone cutter hammering away at a rock a hundred times without so much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the 101st blow it splits in two. I know it was not the one blow that did it, but all that had gone before.' I like that. Do you have someone that you are consistently holding before God in prayer? Sometimes we pray for years without seeing a crack! Yet all of a sudden the stony heart splits in two! It seems like it is all of a sudden but in reality it is the 101 st blow by prayer and it gives way! It did for me, my brother and my father who all became Christians in the same year while living in three different locations and not having anything to do with each other. Yet behind it there was my mother, sister and others who were praying! And thank goodness they were!
 ↩ Charles Spurgeon said "Heaven's gate is not to be stormed by one weapon but by many. Spare no arrows, Christian. Watch and see that none of the arms in thy armoury are rusty. Besiege the throne of God with a hundred hands, and look at the promise with a hundred eyes. You have a great work on hand for you have to move the arm that moves the world; watch, then, for every means of moving that arm. See to it that you ply every promise; that you use every argument; that you wrestle with all might."
 ↩ This principle of God opening the doors applies to all aspects of Christian service.
The Bible Believers commentary (Big Blue) says: The apostle wanted God to open doors for him. What an important lesson there is for us in this! It is all too possible for us to go around opening doors for ourselves in Christian service. But this is a peril to be avoided. If the Lord opens the doors for us, then we can confidently enter them, knowing that He is leading. On the other hand, if we open the doors for ourselves, then we cannot be sure that we are in the centre of the Lord's will, and we might soon be stooping to carnal means to carry on the so-called work of the Lord.
 ↩ You've probably all experienced trying to tell the Gospel to someone whose heart is closed to the good news. It is hard work. I spoke to a non-Christian friend recently at Easter and read from Isaiah 53. I tried to carefully explain this greatest prophecy, given hundreds of years in advance, of what Jesus would do on the cross. It is a fantastic passage and a fantastic proof that Jesus is the Messiah and died for our sins. So I did my best. How did it go? He replied very matter of fact, 'It's not something I'm interested in and or want to hear anything about.' The moral of the story? Only God can open the door to a person's heart! He asks us to share His truth and that is important but it won't work without prayer asking God to work in the situation!
 ↩ I'll give you an example from my own life recently that relates to this. Most of the people at my work aren't Christians. There are only two of us that are. So I started thinking about the actual time that I have with the non-Christians and whether I'm making any use of that time. The first thing that I realised was that I spent next to no time with them. I sit in my little office doing my programming most of the day. People come in and ask questions and I'll go out and help with problems but the majority of time is sitting in my office pressing buttons on a keyboard. Come lunch time, I like to get outside and see some sun and go for a run. So I realised I wasn't spending anytime with the non-Christians really. I was praying about this, asking the Lord for opportunities and decided to make a small change. I thought that for lunch, if I wasn't running, I'd sit in the lunch room and wait... Sure enough, someone came in and the first thing they asked was 'Does your church do anything different over Easter?' A good starting place to build on! So we had a good conversation and I now have a place to build on going forward with this co-worker. So sometimes we need to just commit these things back to God and make simple changes to be more available to people.
 ↩ There is to be something that cleanses, something that preserves, and something that pricks the conscience in our speech. That's the salt. Jesus used both grace and salt. For example, when Jesus came before the women caught in adultery He said: 'Neither do I condemn you.' That's the grace.' Then He said 'Go, and sin no more.' That's the salt. With the Samaritan woman at Jacob's well He said: 'Give Me a drink.' That's the grace. 'The normal prejudices of the day prohibited public conversation between men and women, between Jews and Samaritans, and especially between strangers.' - Bible Knowledge Commentary. So Jesus broke all three rules to express grace and kindness to this woman. Then He said 'Go, call your husband.' That's something of the salt. She had had 5 previous husbands and was now just living with a man who wasn't her husband!
 ↩ I heard Ray Comfort interviewed recently on Jan Markel's radio program and he gave an illustration I liked which relates to this. He spoke of a man standing near the open door of a plane 20,000 feet up without a parachute. So you tell the man to please put a parachute on but all he wants to do is argue about the age of the plane, whether it is young or old. He wants to argue about whether the plane has a maker or not. Ray said if that man won't put a parachute on, the best thing you can could do for that man is hang him out the open door by his feet for 5 seconds and then bring him back on board. His natural instincts based on his predicament will then kick in and he'll want a parachute quick smart! Ray said that is what he tries to do. He hangs people out over the edge of eternity for a few seconds using the law of God to shake people out of their apathy. That's definitely the salt! And Ray Comfort does it incredibly well!
 ↩ I remember years ago as we discussed this passage in home group, I asked, 'how does salt lose its saltiness.' One wise lady said 'you water it down!' So the truth shouldn't be watered down unless we want the purifying and preserving power to be diminished. Unfortunately a lot of 'evangelism' in the last couple of decades has amounted to 'God loves you and has a great plan for your life'. That may be true but it's just giving the grace before many even see the need for it.
 ↩ Very briefly, some answers would be:
1. This is a common thought but even in a human court of law it would never work, let alone before the totally holy righteous Almighty God! If you said to a human judge in court that 'yeah, I committed this crime but there have been lots of other times when I've obeyed the law whole-heartedly and been good to people' he would say 'you have broken the law so I sentence you to...'
2. There are thousands of things we never see but still know to be true. A common one is the wind. Have you seen the wind? All we see are the effects of the wind. In like manner we may not have seen God visibly but His invisible qualities are clearly seen throughout creation and in the effect that He has on the lives of those He touches.
3. They are blaming the wrong god! Satan is the god of this world scripture tells us. We also shouldn't blame God for what fallen mankind does to each other. God didn't make this planet in its fallen state and His plan will see all things put back as they should be!
4. This is a more common complaint of late but it isn't actually true. Certainly people have and do fight over religion but it is wrong to say it causes all the wars. To quote from the Gotquestions website: ' By all accounts, the 20th century was one of the bloodiest centuries in human history. Two major world wars, which had nothing at all to do with religion, the Jewish Holocaust, and the Communist Revolutions in Russia, China, Southeast Asia and Cuba, have accounted for anywhere between 50-70 million deaths (some estimate upwards to 100 million). The one thing these conflicts and genocides have in common is that fact that they were ideological, not religious, in nature. We could easily make the case that more people have died throughout human history due to ideology than to religion. Communist ideology necessitates ruling over others. Nazi ideology necessitates elimination of 'inferior' races. These two ideologies alone account for the death of millions, and religion had nothing to do with it. In fact, communism is by definition an atheistic ideology. Religion and ideology are both secondary causes for war. However, the primary cause for all war is sin.' Read more: http://www.gotquestions.org/religion-war.html
5. Jesus was the one who said that He is the only way and that no one comes to the Father except through Him. This is a narrow statement but whether it is narrow or broad makes no difference. All that matters is, is it true? Jesus proved that He was the promised Messiah, the Son of God, the only way of salvation, but fulfilling the hundreds of prophecies given hundreds of years before, by dying on the cross for our sins and most importantly by rising from the dead!