Is my witness as a disciple of Jesus affected by my prayers; or are my prayers affected by my witness?
Chicken and egg arguments exist. They take different forms on myriads of topics. However, they cause us to think beyond our normal, casual consideration of such arguments.
We are commanded by the words of Jesus, in Acts 1:8, to be his witnesses “to the end of the earth”.
Very plain, concise, to the point. No ambiguity.
I confess my tendency when presented with the opportunity to speak out as a witness (for the salvation from my sin I have in Jesus), is to immediately consider possible consequences for engaging in the witness role.
Sometimes I engage the opportunity.
Sometimes I hit the mental pause button and continue on pause until the opportunity is no longer there.
Is it time to speak up?
My guilt in such moments is compounded by my knowledge of and memory of Scripture like Colossians 4:2-3, “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ …” In those moments of opportunity, Paul ties prayer and witness together. In verse 5, he writes, “Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time.” This is both reassuring and unsettling to us.
This is part of our mental debate. ‘Is this the time to speak up?’ we ask.
To the evangelist, the answer is a resounding yes! Seize the moment, “redeem the time” to be his witness. To others, we read on to verse 6, “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.”
I am thankful for the variety of thinking and giftedness we have in the body of Christ. There is room for all of us, regardless of how we process these thoughts.
The relationship between Prayer & Witness
According to Colossians 4:2-6, my witness as a disciple must never be separated from my prayers. Paul explicitly instructs us that prayer precedes witness: “meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door”.
So much for the chicken or the egg argument.
Being a witness means being prepared to be the witness. Wisdom for the timing of being the witness comes from one place – prayer. Not in the moment, rather in preparation for the moment.
The Power of the Holy Spirit
Let us not forget the power we need to be his witness. It is found in prayer through the power of the Holy Spirit. Remember Jesus words in Acts 1:8, “you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you".
I am personally fortified by the Scriptures. I identify with the Apostle Paul, who writes in 1 Corinthians 2:3-5. "I was with you in weakness, in fear, in trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”
My witness is never dependant on my ability to speak.
It is never dependant on my ability to outthink another person.
It is never dependant on me being persuasive.
My witness is dependant solely and exclusively on the power of the Holy Spirit.
In this spiritual truth, I find rest. I find peace. I find I depend on God to help me be his witness on earth.
My role is to tell my story of how God is working in my life. The results of my telling the story rest with God alone.
When Rick Burdett was a kid, he dreamed of being a professional football player. Now, he’s the Chief Operations Officer at Outreach Canada. Before joining OC in 2019, Rick served as an executive pastor in two churches over 22 years. If Rick had a free afternoon, you might find him fishing, kayaking, bike riding or napping. Rick is passionate about working with and supporting people who are sacrificially loving lost people into the kingdom of God. He loves listening to the stories of how God is using team members to bless our culture & world.