“Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; praying at the same time 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.”
Prayer is the grace system of communication with God for the believer. The purpose of prayer is to communicate with our Heavenly Father. God communicates with us through His Word. We communicate with God through prayer. God, therefore, expects all believers to use prayer and to stay alert while praying. We are actually commanded to pray without ceasing, which means to have a consistent prayer life. Prayer can be a powerful tool in the hands of a believer who knows how to use it. There are correct principles and procedures for praying, and it is important that we learn and use these principles and procedures. (I Thessalonians 5:17; Ephesians 6:18; Philippians 4:6; Hebrews 4:16)
Prayer is for believers only. In order for a person to address God as father, they must first have a family relationship with Him. This relationship is possible only by placing your faith in Jesus Christ as Savior. Once this relationship exists, the believer has every right to communicate with their Heavenly Father. This, of course, is what God wants us to do. (Galatians 3:26; John 1:12)
All prayer is to be directed to the Father, in the name of the Son and in the power of the Holy Spirit. Both Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are praying and making intercession for us, therefore, we direct our prayer to the Father. This is how Jesus taught His disciples to pray. (Matthew 6:9; John 14:13-14; Ephesians 6:18; Hebrews 7:25; Romans 8:26-27)
Long prayers are to be done in private. Public prayer should be short and to the point. The Pharisees were fond of lengthy prayers so that people would see and hear them being “holy”. The Bible says that they already had their reward (being seen by people). When we pray, it should be done in private to God. (Matthew 6:5-7)
There is an order for prayer. The first item of our prayer should always be to name or admit our sins, if necessary, using the Rebound Technique. This restores the control of the Holy Spirit and fellowship with God. The believer is now in a position to be heard by God. This should be another encouragement to keep “short accounts” (name your sins immediately) with God. (I John 1:9; Psalm 66:18)
Secondly, we should give thanks for the spiritual and material blessings that God has graciously given to us. This includes divine discipline and divine guidance. We should then pray for others, intercessory prayer. This means we must know the needs of others, which would necessitate an up-to-date prayer list. Prayer for the unbeliever is primarily for their salvation. Since God does not force a person to believe in Christ, our prayer should be that they will hear a clear Gospel message. We could also pray that God would provide us the opportunity to present the Gospel. (Matthew 5:44; Luke 6:28; Ephesians 6:18; James 5:15-16)
Finally, you should pray for your own needs, petition. Remember that there are some things that you don’t have to pray about. For example, we are commanded to be filled with (controlled by) the Holy Spirit. We are controlled by the Holy Spirit when we have used the Rebound Technique of naming or admitting our sins to God, and we are executing the Christian Way of Life. So we don’t have to pray, “Fill me with your Holy Spirit,” which would show our lack of knowledge of God’s Word and is an insult to God. If there is not a direct solution to your need in the Scriptures, then take it to God in prayer. (Philippians 4:6)
Paul requested prayer for himself and those with him. Paul had been imprisoned because of his desire to teach doctrine in Jerusalem which was not the will of God. So God closed the door and disciplined Paul at the same time. Now Paul was asking for prayer that doors might be opened in the royal palace of Rome, in the Praetorian camp, that he might have the opportunity of communicating the mystery doctrine of the Church in these areas.
“Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity.”
I John 1:5-7 gives insight with regard to, conduct yourselves with wisdom. Wisdom is the Greek word “sophia,” which is applied doctrine. In order to properly apply Bible doctrine it must be resident in your soul. Application of that doctrine for a believer must be done under the filling of the Holy Spirit while in fellowship with God. A synonym for conducting is walking. The Greek word for fellowship is “koinonia” and means “to have things in common with.” The Apostle John was defending the doctrine of the Hypostatic Union in I John 1 while teaching believers how to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. John used the contrast of light and darkness to introduce the doctrine of fellowship with God. A believer always has the choice to either “walk in the light” or to “walk in darkness.” You cannot walk in darkness and be in fellowship with God.
We need to understand what the Bible means by “walking.” Walking is the Greek word “peripateo” and means “your manner of living.” Walking is a metaphor for the course being pursued by a believer. In God’s power system, walking is an analogy for aligning your experience with your position in Christ, as Royal Family of God. In other words, the believer is either pursuing a course according to the “light” (God’s power system) or according to the “darkness” (Satan’s cosmic system). The Gnostics who denied the humanity or the deity of Christ were walking in perpetual spiritual darkness just like the out-of- fellowship believer. The unbelieving Gnostic certainly had nothing in common with God. The believer practicing Gnosticism was out of fellowship and had nothing in common with God, experientially.
If a believer says he is pursuing a course according to God’s power system and yet he is operating according to Satan’s cosmic system, he is not telling the truth and is out of fellowship with God, according to I John 1:6. Not practicing the truth means a believer is not doing what the truth teaches him to do. Bible doctrine (truth) teaches the believer how to think divine viewpoint and how “to do” divine production, which is equal to conducting yourselves with wisdom. This is how a believer can make the most of the opportunity to represent Jesus Christ before others.
“Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.”
Grace thinking always precedes grace speech. Speaking with grace is speech based on the Bible doctrine in your soul. Seasoned with salt means that “speaking from the grace in your soul” will “taste good” to the hearer. Salt was very common in Bible times, that is why salt is used so extensively as metaphor throughout the Bible. Salt was used in the ancient world for a number of reasons, all of which are brought in by way of illustration of Bible doctrine. Salt was used in the ancient world for preserving food. It was also used for the seasoning of food. Eating salt with a king meant allegiance to that king. Enlistment in the army often included eating salt, meaning I will be faithful to my commanders. Making a peace treaty or a covenant of friendship was done by eating bread and salt together.
Paul was teaching the believers in Colossae how to speak to the Gnostics. When they spoke to them Paul encouraged them to do so with grace. Grace is the function of God toward mankind and should be the function of every believer toward others (believers and unbelievers). As Christ’s representatives on earth, it is our responsibility and privilege to be a spokesperson for God. If we utilize the doctrine in our souls to temper (seasoned with salt) what might otherwise be hostile speech regarding an opposing belief (like Gnosticism), we will honor God and glorify Jesus Christ.
Every Christian is an ambassador for Jesus Christ. The Greek word for ambassador is “presbeuo” and means “eldership, aged or rank.” This makes perfect sense for Christians, since you cannot properly represent Jesus Christ on earth if you are not advancing in the Christian Way of Life. (II Corinthians 5:20; Ephesians 6:20) The Royal Ambassadorship of a believer is his visible relationship with others and is the result of (not the means of) your spiritual life (your invisible relationship with God). Just like non-Christian ambassadors, there are effective ambassadors and non-effective ambassadors.
As believers we take our precedence from Jesus Christ. Christ was God’s ambassador on earth. Since Christ has ascended to Heaven, believers are now God’s representatives on earth. With Christ as our standard, the believer, controlled by the Holy Spirit, strives to become an effective ambassador for God. (Hebrews 1:1-9)
The effective ambassador is a blessing to others. God blesses the believer when he has developed capacity to receive blessing. Capacity is developed by the believer-priest as he builds his relationship with God. God never blesses the believer because of his production as an ambassador. This means that the primary responsibility of the royal ambassador is the application of Bible doctrine. (As a priest, the believer is responsible for the perception of Bible doctrine). Divine production is always the result of a right relationship with God, never the means. Before the believer can be an effective ambassador for Christ, he must have a developing spiritual life. If he gets the “cart before the horse”, his ambassadorship becomes legalism or Christian activism (trying to reform the devil’s world). (Matthew 6:33)
It must be pointed out that the priesthood and the ambassadorship of the believer are to work in harmony in order to bring honor to God. Our royal priesthood is the means of developing our relationship with God and our royal ambassadorship is a way of demonstrating that relationship to others. If we are going to execute the Christian Way of Life effectively, we must do things God’s way. This does not mean that we will always do things the right way 100% of the time. It does however mean that we are utilizing the resources outlined in God’s Word.
As ambassadors for Christ, we have been given the responsibility and the privilege of sharing the good news of the Gospel with others. Often extreme pressure is placed upon believers using false doctrine in order to force them into a certain routine of witnessing. The most common of false doctrines says that a person will go to hell if you fail to share the Gospel with them. This is not true. God will not let a person go to Hell who wants to know truth, whether or not you speak to that person about salvation. (II Corinthians 5:18-20)
Sharing the Gospel of Christ should be natural and easy without pressure from any source. Your love for God should be all the motivation necessary. God does not want religious nuts running around getting in people’s faces and talking about “Jesus.” More harm than good has been done, in the name of Christ, by misguided and misinformed Christians. If you want to be an effective witness for Christ (and you should), you need to learn how to share the Gospel clearly and effectively.
Being an effective witness for Christ begins with being an effective Christian. Since you are the best Christian that someone knows, it should motivate you to set an example of Christ-like thinking, Christ-like attitude and Christ-like actions. Failure to do so will limit your effectiveness as a witness for Christ. However, no one ever accepted Christ as Savior by observation. It is therefore our responsibility to verbally share the Gospel when the opportunity presents itself. The Bible says that we are to be ready always to give reason for the hope that is in us. (Romans 14:21; I Corinthians 6:12, 8:13; Galatians 5:13; I Thessalonians 5:22; Titus 3:8)