Sermon Prepared by James McCullen
Email Preach Him with Dr. Jim

Do You Need A Mini Course In Prayer?
Col 4:2-6

NKJV 
2 Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; 
3 meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, 
4 that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. NKJV
NASU 
2 Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; 
3 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; 
4 that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak. NASU
TLB 
2 Don't be weary in prayer; keep at it; watch for God's answers, and remember to be thankful when they come. 3 Don't forget to pray for us too, that God will give us many chances to preach the Good News of Christ for which I am here in jail. 
4 Pray that I will be bold enough to tell it freely and fully and make it plain, as, of course, I should. TLB

Introduction Lack of prayer
A little girl came to her mother and said, "I suppose, up in heaven, they think I am dead." The mother replied, "Why Mary, why do you suppose they think you are dead?" "Well," said the little girl, "because, I have not said my prayers for a week."

If Heaven judged out well being by our prayer life would we be on a sick list or considered dead?
 
 
 

1.    This Mini Course Emphasizes A . . Devotion to Prayer. v 2



        "Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving;

A.    The . . Alertness to Devotion.
        "Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving;

        1. This is a Persistent . . Devotion
            "Continue earnestly in prayer,. . . "

        2. This is a Perceptive . . Devotion
            ". . . being vigilant in it. . . "

Illustration Results of Prayer
In Point Man, Steve Farrar tells the story of George McCluskey. When McCluskey married and started a family, he decided to invest one hour a day in prayer, because he wanted his kids to follow Christ. After a time, he expanded his prayers to include his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Every day between 11 a.m. and noon, he prayed for the next three generations.

As the years went by, his two daughters committed their lives to Christ and married men who went into full-time ministry. The two couples produced four girls and one boy. Each of the girls married a minister, and the boy became a pastor. The first two children born to this generation were both boys. Upon graduation from high school, the two cousins chose the same college and became roommates. During their sophomore year, one boy decided to go into the ministry. The other didn't. He undoubtedly felt some pressure to continue the family legacy, but he chose instead to pursue his interest in psychology. He earned his doctorate and eventually wrote books for parents that became bestsellers.

He started a radio program heard on more than a thousand stations each day. The man's name was James Dobson. "Through his prayers, George McCluskey affected far more than one family. -- Loyal J. Martin Newton, Kansas

B.    The . . Attitude of Devotion.
        "Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving;

        1. This is A . . Thankful Devotion

Illustration Devotion to prayer
Two African chiefs once came Dr. Chalmers, a missionary, and said, "We want Christian teachers; will you send them?" Chalmers had no one to send, and told them so. Two years passed, and these two chiefs came again. Dr. Chalmers himself happened to be at liberty, and he traveled over the intervening country and arrived on Sunday morning.

To his surprise, he saw the whole village on their knees in perfect silence. He asked one of the chiefs what they were doing, and received the reply, "Praying." "But you are not saying anything," said Dr. Chalmers. "White man," the chief answered, "we do not know what to say. For two years, every Sunday morning, we have met here; and for four hours we have been on our knees, and we have been praying like that, but we do not know what to say." What a picture of waiting nations! --Gospel Herald

Application

This Mini Course Emphasizes A . . Devotion to Prayer. v 2

"Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving;. . . "
 
 
 

2.    This Mini Course Emphasizes A . . Door of Prayer. v 3-4



    3 meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, 4 that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.

A.    The . . Request for the Door. v 3 a
        ". . . meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, . . "

        1.    Request A Door of . . Openness.
            ". . . God would open to us a door. . . "

1 Co 16:9 For a great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries. NKJV

2 Co 2:12 12 Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ's gospel, and a door was opened to me by the Lord, NKJV

Rv 3:8 "I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name. NKJV

Illustration
It is said that a man was standing in a telephone booth, but he could not understand his friend to whom he was trying to talk. He kept saying, "I can't hear you; I can't understand you." Finally the man at the other end shouted rather sharply, "If you will shut the door, you can hear!"

Jesus said, "Enter into thy closet, and . . . . shut thy door." A man who often prayed a long time was asked, "Why do you pray so long?" He replied, "It takes me so long to get the door shut." That is the trouble. We do not take time to get the voices of the world and the clamorings of our own souls sufficiently silenced for God to speak. "Take time to be holy."

William Moses Tidwell, "Pointed Illustrations."
 

    2.    Request for An . . Opportunity.
            . ". . .a door for the word, . . "

B.    The . . Reason for the Door. v 3 b
        ". . . to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, . . . "

C.    The . . Response to the Door. v 3 a
        "that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak."

Illustration Who's Praying? Read: 2 Timothy 1:1-7 http://bible.gospelcom.net/bible?2+Timothy+1:1-7
I remember you in my prayers night and day. --2 Timothy 1:3

Jim Cymbala's daughter had been running from God for a long time. Chrissy had rebelled against her family, had left home, and was living as far from God as she could.

But one night, this teenager awoke with the distinct feeling that someone was praying for her. And someone was. The entire congregation of the church her father pastored was talking to God about her. During their weekly prayer meeting, a member suggested they should all pray for Chrissy.

Two days later, she came home. The first question she had for her startled father was this: "Who was praying for me?" She begged forgiveness and recommitted her life to Christ.

In the apostle Paul's second letter to Timothy, he told the young first-century pastor that he was praying for him night and day (1:3). Timothy was facing some big challenges, so it must have been encouraging to know that Paul was praying specifically for him.

Are there some people we know who are in bondage to sin as Chrissy was, or who are facing a challenge as Timothy was? Are we willing to spend some concentrated time praying for them? Are we confident that God will answer?
 


Commit to pray and intercede--
The battle's strong and great's the need;
And this one truth can't be ignored:
Our only help comes from the Lord. --Sper


 


To influence others for God, intercede with God for others.
 

This Mini Course Emphasizes A . . Devotion to Prayer.

This Mini Course Emphasizes A . . Door of Prayer.