The last chapter of the Book of Colossians opens with a reminder of exactly who we are, Julio Arriola preached at the Southern Baptist Pastors Conference on June 13. Paul tells masters to treat their servants fairly, knowing they too have a master in heaven.
“In other words, dear Southern Baptists, we are servants,” said Arriola, a church planting catalyst in Texas. “[God] is the one that deserves all the glory, and we are His servants, servants of Christ, rescued from the pits of hell, reconciled with God by the blood of Jesus, to live lives that would glory the Father.”
Though God is sovereign and supreme, Arriola said, He has decided to move and to act upon his servants’ prayers. And when God’s people pray, he said, prayer changes everything.
Arriola’s message opened the final session of the Pastors Conference focused on Paul’s letter to the church at Colossae. The sermon was a call to Southern Baptists to be a people of prayer who understand its urgency; to pray with gratitude and for the advance of the gospel; and to experience a change of heart toward others ignited by prayer.
Urgent, thankful prayer
Paul tells the Colossians to be steadfast in prayer, and watchful in it with thanksgiving. That gratitude, Arriola said, makes a difference because it connects us with the past and how God has already answered our prayers.
“Dear pastor, you may be facing the toughest seasons in ministry right now,” he said. “But I challenge you to pray with gratitude to God. You will have peace, and it will give you also hope for tomorrow.”
Our mission in prayer does not end with gratitude, he continued. Paul also prayed for an open door for the gospel. Praying for the Great Commission — for the gospel to go forth — isn’t optional, Arriola preached.
“He (Paul) didn’t ask for us or the church in Colossae to pray for the doors of his prison cell to be opened so he could get out. His prayer was for the gospel to go out.”
Prayer changes hearts
Arriola concluded his message with the encouragement that prayer changes the heart of the person who prays, resulting in renewed graciousness toward others.
“If we pray constantly, we will develop a tender heart for people. When we are busy in prayer, there is not time to waste. My conversation with God changes my conversation with others, and about others,” he said.
“If we pray without ceasing, then we will not have time to waste on social media, tearing each other apart.” Instead, he said, in prayer we will lift each other up.
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