Class Notes: 4/6/2008
Col 4:3-4 Paul's prayer and request for prayer support for his witness of the Gospel
We are continuing in our study of prayer as part of the PPOG or the Predestination provided for the believer by God in eternity for the purpose of determining just how and what we should pray for.
At the moment we are examining Paul's prayers and we have seen in his prayers in Eph 1:18; Eph 3:14; Phil 1:3; and Col 1:9; that the focus of his prayer was for believers to appropriate by Grace the spiritual resources that God has provided and be enlightened, and empowered and enabled for their advance in God's plan for their lives.
We are presently looking at of Paul’s prayer requests, his mandate, his petition and intercession for prayer support in Col 4:2-4;
We concluded last time with the idea that no matter what believer's see in the world empirically or what we rationalize that could possibly happen to them, that by means of faith the future is as bright as the promises of God. Matt 24:35;
We have His Word as a lamp to illuminate the truth, which shows us the way. 2Pet 1:19;
Col 4:3; At this point, Paul transitions to specificity in his prayer. He shifts from praying in general, as believers pray for themselves and for others, to a specific request for himself and those with him.
He is asking that In addition to their regular prayers, that they pray “also” or “as well as" or "in addition to “ their regular prayer for a distinct, specific matter “concerning us,” referring to himself and those with him.
The Greek word "proseuchomai" in the present tense and middle voice is translated "praying” In the present tense, it is calling for a continuing stream of prayer by the believers at Colossae. The middle voice recognizes the work of God the Holy Spirit along with the believer's volition in prayer. Rom 8:26; Eph 6:18;
Paul then identifies the specific items that he and his group in Rome need prayer support for through their prayer. Both items begin with a Greek word "hina" which is translated "that” and introduces what he desires the Colossian believers to petition God for in prayer.
Both requests are directed toward his desire for an opportunity to engage in a witness to reach unbelievers.
Paul requests petition that God will open up "a door for the word".
He recognizes that God works out His purposes provides the necessary power, and that His guidance is essential if there is going to be an opportunity to communicate the Gospel.
He is referring to the kind of evangelistic “door” or opportunity that God had previously opened up for him in 1Cor 16:9; and 2 Cor. 2:12; so he had already experienced God's "open door"
He understands that because of opposition from the Kosmic System, that it is necessary for God to open the door. Rev 3:8; which is why he is requesting their prayer support.
Col 4:3; Once God opens the door, then believers who are positive and because they are positive they are aware of it and are free to go through the door if they choose to. His desire is to have an open door or opportunity to, “to speak forth the mystery of Christ”
Paul was always very aware of and ready to take advantage of every new opportunity to present the gospel, as we see him doing in Phil 1:12-13;
Paul always seeks advantage for the communication of the Gospel rather than for himself. To Paul, an open door to reach others with the Gospel is more important than an open prison door through which he can escape to freedom. Acts 16:25-31;
The “mystery” Paul is referring to is God’s message about Jews and Gentiles being a "new spiritual species" in union with TLJC that he was made minister of. Eph.3: 6-7; or from another perspective the mystery is “Christ in you, the hope of glory” Col 1:27;
It is because of his preaching to Gentiles of this new reality and the “unfathomable riches of Christ” that Paul is in prison. Eph 3:1-8; Of course Paul had no problem with that because of his personal sense of destiny. 1Tim 2:7; Eph 3:8;
Col 4:4; Paul can only take full advantage of the opportunity of " the open door" if God also "makes it clear in the way he should speak” this second "hina"clause expresses the purpose or content of the prayer that he is relying on for success.
This request is parallel with the clause requesting prayer for God to "open the door". Prayer can requested for God to open the door for the opportunity to witness, as well as to open the mouth of His man who is performing the witness.
Paul made a similar request for intercessory prayer in Eph 6:19-20; where he requested that he be enabled with “boldness;” a word for free and forthright openness. In v. 19, he requests prayer for his "mouth to be opened" “to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel,” and in the next verse he relies on God’s answer to the prayer, “that I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.”
He is asking support regarding what to say, how to say it and for the courage to say it.
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