AN EXHORTATION TO CONTINUE IN PRAYER
Col. 4:1-4“Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven. Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.”
The word “continue” translates “proskartereo” and means, “to be steadfastly attentive unto, to give unremitting care to a thing.” It is a present active imperative verb. This is a strong statement. The etymology of the word stresses to be unremitting and steadfastly attentive to prayer. The present tense means to keep on doing something that is going on.” Paul is not saying, “you need to pray.” They already knew that and it was their practice. What was needed and is needed in every Christians life is to be exhorted to continue steadfastly in prayer because there is such a temptation to quit. Or, at least, not put time in prayer.
Jesus taught perseverance in prayer. Do you ever consider the difficulty to continue in prayer? It is not easy for a Christian in our day to find time. Much less, to spend time waiting before God over what you have just explained to Him that you need. Now that He knows it, why continue to wait before Him? Well, to begin with, why pray at all? He knows what we need before we pray. We continue to wait before Him and remain steadfast for the same reason that we pray at all. Because He teaches us to do it and assures us of answers if we do. If we are going to do more that we can do, He must do it in answer to prayer. If our lives can be explained outside of the supernatural, God isn’t in it.
The words “and watch in the same” indicate prolonged prayer and waiting before Him. The word “watch” translates “gregoreuo” and means, “to take heed lest through remission and indolence some destructive calamity suddenly overtake one.” Paul does not teach the kind of faith in prayer where you get down a make a simple request and get up and go on about your business and never think of it again. It is true when you pray, you should believe God concerning the answer at the time of prayer (Matt. 21:22). But prayer is to continue until we see the actual fulfilment of it. Otherwise, what Paul is saying here would have no meaning.
The words, “and watch in the same with thanksgiving.” probably set forth the key to perseverance. If we watch in the same with thanksgiving, it may be that the continual thanksgiving is the true expression of faith in what God is GOING TO DO as we wait for His timing to work it out.
May the Lord bless these words to our hearts today!
The BCP is a compendium of simplicity and beauty of language and thought. In the Exhortation (BCP 5) at the very outset of Morning Prayer, we are taught that the barrier to our communion with God is sin, and therefore we are to confess our sin. Entrance into God’s holy presence ought to awaken in us a sense of our unworthiness … and God’s grace, grace which takes away our iniquity and enables us to offer our prayers before God. God’s holiness, our unworthiness, God’s grace … what a vivid picture we have of this in Isaiah 6 :
In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called out to another and said,
“Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts,
The whole earth is full of His glory.”
And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke. Then I said,
“Woe is me, for I am ruined!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I live among a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.”
Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs. He touched my mouth with it and said,
“Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven.”
Now we are ready to pray.
• To lift up
• To encourage
• To challenge
The definition of exhortation pretty much sums up the reason why we need to exhort. The best part about exhortation though is; not only is it outward (to the listener) but it is also inward (for the speaker).
Meaning, an exhortation affects both the listener and the speaker.
An exhortation (spiritually speaking) is encouraging the listener to realize the importance (and benefits) of living a Christian life based on the experiences of the speaker (or from third party experience), cemented by the foundation of the teaching of the Bible.
One thing the speaker must understand is exhortation is not a preaching but a sharing of one’s life experiences grown about from a single verse in the Bible. Similarly, an exhortation singularly focuses on one aspect, thought, idea or concern and flourishes from that one point. It is therefore like a laser beam rather that a light bulb.
(Just to be clear, this entry is not an exhortation but a teaching. Ok then let’s roll!!!)Alright then start let’s charge up and target our main point: How to create an exhortation.
There are five things I learned that helped me create an exhortation that had positive results not only on JIGS 2 but to his listeners as well.
1. PRAYER.Prayer is as important to an exhorter as water is to a rose. For without water, a rose plant will wither and die. In the same manner an exhorter no matter how smart and talented in writing and speaking will not be effective for there will be no lasting effect on the listener and the speaker. So pray first then write and/or talk.
2. AN EXHORTATION MUST NOT BE TOO LONG NOR SHOULD IT BE TOO SHORT.Exhortations must not be too long that the listener will either forget the main point or will be confused as to what the point is. Exhortations must not be too short either or the listener will wonder where/what the point is. My rule of thumb is basically, sharing what I have learned from that specific main point I have. For example, if I am talking about giving, then I will share the reason why I gave and how it affected me. And number three helped create a simple and no-roaming-around-the bush-direct-to-the-point type of exhortation.
3. AN EXHORTATION MUST NOT HAVE POINTS AND OR BULLETS.Exhortations must have “point 1”, “point 2”, “point 3” and so on and so forth. An exhorter must not say “I will give you three points” or “in point one there are three aspects”. An exhorter has only one point and that point is the main point. Remember the laser beam? One point and one point only: There is only one point to relay and one point to share. No more or it will not be an exhortation and no less or there will be no point.
4. THOUGHT THE BIBLE HAS THOUSANDS OF VERSES, AN EXHORTER NEEDS ONLY ONE.There must be no “open your Bible to this and open your Bible to that.” You reserve that for Bible studies. The Bible must be opened only to the very verse that the exhorter will use. Don’t go prancing around the Bible.
5. ONE WORD: PERSONAL EXPERIENCE. (WELL, OK TWO WORDS)Use your personal experience (or someone else’s TRUE experience) to further your main point. What experience, you ask? Experiences in life and the lessons learned. The lessons learned will be the glue that will make an exhortation stick effectively to the minds of the listeners.
These are, JIGS2 believes, the bones that will make up the skeleton of an exhortation (it could very well be everything else). But honestly, the real secret, err secrets, to exhortation is not a secret at all. Firstly, study and learn. (Learn from the Bible, learn from experiences and learn from surroundings.) Secondly, allow the Holy Spirit to move in you always.
Alright then go on and keep on exhorting in the free world!!!
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2012-09-16 03:05:41 Category:
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