PART 5 Aspiring to be a Witness for Christ
PART 5 Aspiring to be a Witness for Christ
BEING A WITNESS WHEN WE PRAY
Another aspiration that we should have is being a witness when we pray. This sounds like an easy endeavor. Simply speak out loud to God for the health of ourselves or someone else, for help with a financial need, for world peace, and to keep our family and us safe. I think that this just about covers it all. Don’t you? Well, hold on. The Scriptures should indicate to us not only what was prayed for by those in the early church but whether any of these prayers will even be heard by the Lord. Prayers not heard? What is that all about?
Psalms 66:18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:
I think that most of our prayers fall on deaf ears because we are occupied with some form of mental, verbal, or overt sin. Instead of growing spiritually by means of the confession of sin and the renewal of the mind, we are taught to engage in doing this or that for the church, and we will procure God’s favor. While we don’t change inwardly, this surely appears to others that a change has taken place by what we do. I think that this is a sad state for many Christians.
If, however, we have learned about how to grow spiritually and are applying these instructions to our own life, then what are the kinds of prayers that we will probably be expressing to God the Father? In order to find out, let’s take a look at what the early church prayed for.
- Paul prayed for the Ephesian believers that God the Father would give them wisdom (revealed truth; spiritual realities) and revelation (of apprehending the revealed - of perceiving the drift and meaning of what God makes known6 by the Holy Spirit) so that they would get to know Jesus personally and intimately. Suggested Reading: Ephesians 1:15-20
- Paul and Timothy prayed for the Colossian believers that they would be fully equipped with a knowledge of Christ’s design, purpose, plan, and intention for their lives that would be according to wisdom (knowledge of divine things) and understanding [spiritual insight which discriminates between the false and the true; of clear analysis and decision-making in applying this knowledge (of diving things) to various problems7]. Colossians 1:9
- Epaphras prayed for the Colossians that they would not waver but stand firm by maintaining their fully instructed and enlightened condition and in being fully persuaded of the truth of those doctrines which have been taught to them as the revealed will of God.8 Colossians 4:12
- Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy always prayed for the Thessalonians’ believers that God would consider them worthy of their calling (that their life will come up to the standard expected of those who have been called of God to live in a very special way9) by turning all of their good intentions into actions in which there would be perfected in them contentment and satisfaction so that everything thing they did would be motivated by faith in God and accomplished with His power. 2 Thessalonians 1:11
- Paul asked the believers at Rome to pray for two areas of concern: for safe travel for himself from the unbelieving Jews who resided in Judea, and for acceptance by the Christian Jews at Jerusalem for the financial contribution being brought to them because of their financial hardship due to persecution that might otherwise be looked at as a bribe in return for which Paul's opposition to the law would be condoned.10 Suggested Reading: Romans 15:30-31
- Paul asked the believers at Thessalonica to pray for himself, Silvanus, and Timothy so that they would be delivered from opposition in their attempts to spread the gospel. This opposition would be from those who would not listen to arguments, not being under discipline, who do not have the right view of things, who act agreeably to the disorderly and unreasonable impulse of their own minds having bad aims and purposes, and who have not the Christian faith. 2 Thessalonians 3:1-2
- Paul asked for prayer for himself and Timothy that God would open up a door of occasion, opportunity, or entrance, for the doctrine of the Gospel11 to be able to be declared. Suggested Reading: Colossians 4:2-4
- Paul strongly recommended to Timothy that supplications (something definite is asked; petitions having to do with one's personal needs as they are related to the government under which he lives12), prayers (the general word for prayer), intercessions (for conversions; prayers offered for another), and expressing gratitude for blessings or benefits, be made for all men, for kings, and all that is in authority so that we may lead a life that is quiet (freedom from outward disturbance or persecutions) and peaceable (freedom within; calmness) showing great devotion and reverence (or, respect) for God, and behaving in [the] right and proper way before other people.13 Suggested Reading: 1 Timothy 2:1-4
- Paul instructed the Ephesians’ believers that they should pray always (in adversity as well as prosperity; in every temptation and spiritual conflict14) by means of any kind of prayer (formal, silent, vocal, secret, etc.) with supplications (to ask for God’s help; strong and incessant pleadings, until the evil is averted, or the good communicated15; an imploring request filled with heavenward longings and aspirations16) while being directed and empowered by the Spirit. Ephesians 6:18
- When we are afflicted (suffering in difficult circumstances), we should pray to God for His perspective and power to see things through. Suggested Reading: James 5:10-13
Did you notice any prayers for financial help, for personal health, for world peace, to keep our family safe, etc.? I think the reason for this was that the believers were filled with the Spirit. The Spirit was an active agent in their life. The gifts of the Spirit, such as healing, miracles, knowledge, wisdom, etc., were operational. Physical healings and/or guidance by means of the gift of knowledge or wisdom would be accessible. Asking for safe passage would usually have associated with it the witnessing of confirmation by the faith of the assembly to which they were indebted. Asking for world peace would be understood prophetically in association with Christ’s second coming. Instead of praying for world peace, they would pray for the world leaders so that there would be an open door to preach about their faith safely and without government interference.
The next thing we should aspire to be a witness of should be the basis for everything we do. What could this pertain to? Should this be about attending church more faithfully, giving more in the offering, volunteering for ministry functions, etc.?
6The Pulpit Commentary Pc Study Bible version 5, 2006, 8 Nov 2017 ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.
7Bible Knowledge Commentary/New Testament, 2000, 8 Nov 2017 ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.
9UBS New Testament Handbook Series Pc Study Bible version 5, 2005, 9 Nov 2017 ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.
14Barnes’ Notes. Pc Study Bible version 5, 2006, 9 Nov 2017 ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.
16Jamieson, Faucet, and Brown Commentary Pc Study Bible version 5, 2005, 10 Nov 2017˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.
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