Paul the apostle clearly believed in the effectiveness of prayer. He regular asked the churches under his care to pray for him, and he obviously wasn’t simply trying to fill up space in his letters. He genuinely believed that these prayers would make a material difference. He was humble enough to ask for help. The help he wanted most of all was that which comes from God in answer to the faithful prayers of His people (see Philippians 1:19).
Evangelism involves our words (6) and our actions (5), but it is to be carried on in an atmosphere of prayer. Prayer and effective witness are ‘married’. God has joined them together and we must not separate them. Let us pray for our own outreach efforts, whether they are personal or collective, and also, let’s not fail to pray for preachers and missionaries and Christian leaders working on the ‘front lines’. We can partner with them in this way. No-one is big enough to succeed by themselves. There is a need for committed intercessors in the ‘supply lines’. Do we believe that our prayers will make a difference?
As we pray, we need to be sensitive; alert to God and anything He may be saying or doing. We must keep our eyes open to observe what is going on around us. ‘Watchfulness’ is a vital ingredient of prayer. And it’s not simply a matter of asking God for things. Let’s also be ‘’thankful’’ for everything He has done for us. It will add fuel to our prayers if we take the time to remember how the Lord has already answered prayer in the past. We can (and we must) combine ‘please’ and ‘thankyou’.
In particular, Paul asked for prayer for an ‘’open door’’ for the message to be preached, and for clarity in communicating it. (Compare this with similar requests in Ephesians 6: 18-20). Here are important points to still inform our praying for the spread of the gospel.
Someone said that he had noticed that coincidences happen when Christians pray which don’t occur when they’re not praying! We need a lot more of these ‘coincidences’.
Prayer: Lord God, let me see prayer through your eyes. Help me to believe all that the Bible teaches about prayer’s power. Enable me, please, to resist every temptation to stop praying, and to fight the lethargy that would keep me from ever starting.