“Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; praying at all times for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned; that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak” (Col 4:2-4).
Last year, I had an opportunity to visit the Caribbean land of coffee and cigars. We were invited to the island to support the work of the pastors there. In preparation for the trip, our team adopted these verses from Colossians chapter 4 as our theme for the week. We asked our partners to pray in this way.
And I would like to report that those prayers made a difference – a huge difference. On day one of our visit, I was very nervous and uncomfortable. I felt like I had been dropped into both a time warp and a foreign culture. My presentations were uneven and choppy. Even with a superb translator, the language barrier was foreboding. I felt like I rarely connected with the folks I was visiting. In short, I wasn’t sure that I was communicating exactly what I was trying to say. The message only seemed to fall on hard soil and I was very discouraged.
By the next morning, something had profoundly changed. I woke up to a new energy. A spiritual wind blew. Your prayers were answered. It seemed as if it was no longer I sharing the message. I felt more like a channel for God’s word to flow through. I developed a better feel for how the translation process fit the presentation. My translator and I were working in unison practically finishing each other’s sentences. And people responded to the spoken word. The soil became rich and abundant.
I believe that I was speaking “in the way I ought to speak, speaking forth the mystery of Christ” directly as a result of your prayers. Today, the Holy Spirit is indeed “opening up to us a door for the word” as His message reaches hearts that are ready. Stay devoted in prayer. This experience has taught me to follow through when I say I am going to be praying for someone. These verses have encouraged me to pray at random times of the day when a need or person comes to mind.
God has promised that our prayers make a difference. Let us be devoted to prayer and believe it does the work it is prescribed to do.