5 Evangelism Prayers from Paul

Intro

In Colossians 4, the Apostle Paul lays out 5 evangelism prayer points that you can begin praying today! Let’s look at the passage and jump into what this passage teaches us about how to pray for your evangelistic efforts.

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.

Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

Evangelism Prayer Point 1: Keep Praying

The passage begins in verse 2 with an exhortation to keep on praying. Have you ever gotten tired of never seeing anything come from your prayers? Paul recognizes this is a real temptation for Christians. That’s why he encourages us: don’t give up! Keep on praying!

This is especially important as we pray for unsaved family members and friends. Even if you’ve prayed for someone for the past 1000 days, make today the 1001st time you pray for their salvation. Keep going!

Evangelism Prayer Point 2: Pray with Watchfulness

Paul says to pray while “being watchful in it.” In other words, we should “keep our eyes open.” Why? What are we waiting to see? After we pray, our eyes should be watching to see if God will answer! We should pray with an expectation that God will act in the world in response to our prayers.

One pastor explained it with a baseball analogy. Imagine that you are the pitcher, and that every baseball you pitch is a prayer. When the pitcher throws the baseball, he can’t check out. He needs to remain watchful, because depending on how the ball is hit, it could come flying right back at his face!

In the same way, when we pray to God, we need to be ready: expect Him to answer!

So if you pray in the morning: “God, give me an opportunity to speak to someone about Jesus today,” then you should be watchful, waiting for God to give you that opportunity. Expect it to happen!

Evangelism Prayer Point 3: Pray with Thankfulness

How can we keep on praying with watchfulness? The answer is gratitude: “…being watchful in it with thanksgiving.” When our prayers are full of anxiety, it’s hard to keep praying. When we forget God’s goodness, it’s easy to not expect Him to answer our prayers.

We tend to focus on the negative, both in everyday life and in our prayers. The next time you ask God to help you through a difficult circumstance, try “sandwiching” your request with thankfulness.

If you’re praying for your daughter to put her faith in Jesus, don’t despair. Sandwich your request with thankfulness. Thank God for the opportunity to raise and care for her, for everything He has already done through Jesus’ death and resurrection, and for the fact that God loves her far more than you ever could.

Evangelism Prayer Point 4: Pray for Opportunities

Read verse 3, and then come back here. Answer the following two questions.

  • Question 1: Where was Paul? Answer: he was in prison.
  • Question 2: What did Paul pray for? Open doors to share the Gospel.

Do you realize how amazing this is?

While in prison, Paul did not pray for the prison door to be opened; he prayed for Gospel doors to be opened.

This is how we should pray for missionaries, pastors, and evangelists both in our own country and around the world. We can pray for deliverance from evil. But the priority remains the same: opportunities to share the Word.

This applies to you as well: don’t let the difficult season of life that you’re in keep you from praying for opportunities for the Gospel. Get into the habit of praying each morning for open doors to speak of Jesus. If you continue in that prayer (lesson 1), and if you remain watchful throughout your day (lesson 2), and if you remain thankful (lesson 3), the open doors (lesson 4) will soon be everywhere!

Evangelism Prayer Point 5: Pray for Clarity

When the opportunities come, it isn’t enough to merely speak up and say anything. Paul recognizes that since the Gospel is primarily informational (it means “good news”), it must be understood if it is to be of benefit to the hearers. So Paul asks them to pray for him to have the ability to make the Gospel message clear, which is how he believes he ought to speak.

C.S. Lewis explained the importance of communicating clearly:

Take great pains to be clear. Remember that though you start by knowing what you mean, the reader doesn’t, and a single ill-chosen word may lead him to a total misunderstanding. In a story it is terribly easy just to forget that you have not told the reader something that he needs to know—the whole picture is so clear in your own mind that you forget that it isn’t the same in his.

An Embarrassing Example

This is very important when it comes to our evangelism. One time I saw a man on the street and I decided to share the Gospel with him. I was a bit nervous, and so I began the conversation rather quickly, and I just kept talking for about three minutes straight as I explained the Gospel. Once I finally finished, he said in broken English: “I don’t really know English.” How embarrassing! I had just wasted my own time (and his) speaking words that meant nothing to him. This is a very clear example of how if the Gospel is going to benefit someone, it needs to be understood.

But it applies beyond just language barriers. It also applies to the words we use. If we use words that other people don’t understand, there will be massive misunderstandings. As a Christian seeking to spread the truth of the Gospel, one of the most important things you can pray for is clarity and simplicity of language. If you can’t explain the Gospel without using big, fancy words, it’s probably because you don’t understand it well enough.

This is why it is so necessary to master the basics of the Gospel.

Summary

We just covered five evangelism prayer points. In summary: keep on praying for evangelistic opportunities. Don’t give up. And each day, after you pray, be on the lookout: God is going to answer your prayers! When you see those open doors, take them. And be praying for your ability to speak clearly.

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