Colossians 4:2-4 (NIV) – Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.
“Paul knows his dependence on God and asks for intercessory help in prayer, just as he has prayed unceasingly for them (1:9-11). He does not ask them to pray for anything that will bring personal advantage to him, his sights remain firmly fixed on his mission calling (1:25). He therefore asks them to pray that God will open a ‘door for our message’ (lit., ‘the door to the word’). Such opportunities exist even in prison.” [David E. Garland, NIVAC, Colossians/Philemon, p.272.]
1. Why do you suppose Paul is asking the Colossians to pray for an open door for the message instead of an open door for himself and his fellow missionaries?
2. In what ways can you make the most of opportunities on a daily basis to pray for the advancing of the gospel through your missional group? Through our churches?
Prayer: Lord, we ask for an open door for the message of the gospel, especially as we are moving forward in this new season, may there be new salvation among us. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
Matthew 7:7-8 (NIV) – “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”
“‘Knock’ includes perseverance in one’s asking and seeking, as when the disciple perseveres in praying for his unbelieving family’s salvation and speaks and lives the gospel throughout his lifetime. Jesus’ disciples are to ask the Father continually as a manner of life, to be constantly responsible in pursuing God’s will, and to maintain an unremitting determination in expecting the Father to answer.” [Michael J. Wilkins, NIVAC Matthew, p.312.]
1. How have you experienced God’s answer to your prayer as you “knocked” at the door?
2. Are you ready to be the one who knocks at the door?
3. What is an urgent prayer that God is putting in your heart today? Take the time to pray and also share with your pastoral or missional group leader what you are praying for.
Prayer: Jesus, I want to ask for determination to persevere in prayer, to knock at the door until it is opened. Please help me to grow more in how to pray until something happens (PUSH). In your name I pray, amen.
Matthew 7:13-14 (NIV) – Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
“Jesus sets his face against any idea that you can simply ‘go with the flow,’ allowing the crowd to set the pace and the direction. You really have to want to get in through this gate. If you just drift, allowing the current to take you where it will, you’ll miss it. But this gate leads to life, and the other sort all lead to destruction. The choice is spelled out at last, and there’s no avoiding it, no softening of the hard line. Choices matter; actions and motives matter. Learning to follow Jesus and to know God as father matter. Eternal issues are at stake.” [NT Wright, Matthew for Everyone, p. 76.]
1. What are some previous examples in your life that you had to make a choice between the narrow and the wide gate?
2. How do you envision yourself following Jesus through the narrow gate at the next challenge that life brings?
Prayer: Thank you Jesus that following you means to go through the narrow gate but it also life giving. Please help me to follow you, especially for the next challenge in my life. I pray in Jesus’ name, amen.
Ruth 4:1 (NIV) – Meanwhile Boaz went up to the town gate and sat down there just as the guardian-redeemer he had mentioned came along. Boaz said, “Come over here, my friend, and sit down.” So he went over and sat down.
The story of Ruth is a wonderful reminder of God’s faithfulness to his people and also to the triumph of his kingdom as evidenced by the genealogy that follows through Boaz and Ruth having a son named Obed, who is the grandfather of king David and so on until Christ. One of the key moments in the story is the negotiation that Boaz has with the guardian-redeemer at the town gate. He masterfully navigates the business dealing with delicate matters of land and taking on of a widow named Ruth. The outcome not only serves to preserve the family line but also continues the lineage of God’s masterplan of salvation.
1. In what ways can daily business deals affect your life, especially your prayer life?
2. How can you pray so that your daily business at work or at home will lead to greater works for the kingdom of God?
Prayer: Lord, let me follow the example of Boaz who worked tirelessly and humbly for your kingdom. In Jesus Christ, amen.
Let’s worship to the song, “No longer I” by Matt Redman.
Joshua 20:2,4 (NIV) – Then the Lord said to Joshua: “Tell the Israelites to designate the cities of refuge… 4 When they flee to one of these cities, they are to stand in the entrance of the city gate and state their case before the elders of that city. Then the elders are to admit the fugitive into their city and provide a place to live among them.
Cities of refuge were the provisions that the Lord gave to the people of Israel in case of wrongful accusations or accidental harm done to a neighbor. The accused were supposed to state their case to the elders at the city gate before being admitted to safety. These were set up in order to protect the people against being avenged without trial and find safe haven. One can see these cities representing a foreshadow of salvation through Christ’s death and resurrection.
1. In what ways has Jesus stated your case before the Father?
2. What happened to all the accusation, all our condemnation at the cross?
Prayer: Jesus, thank you for standing before the Father on my behalf. I no longer stand condemned but I can now live in the refuge of your kingdom. Lord Jesus, I worship you and thank you! In your name I pray, amen.