It’s been a year since the war that started Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But there is no sign that the war will end. We must pray that the war will end as soon as possible. Gorbachev, the last president of the former Soviet Union, died on August 30, last year. Gorbachev won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990 after announcing the end of the Cold War with the United States in 1989. At this time, the Doomsday Clock was turned back four minutes, giving ten minutes to the end of the world. This doomsday clock symbolically shows the remaining time until the end of the world by likening the extinction of humankind due to a nuclear war to “midnight” in the form of “how many minutes until midnight”. In 1991, when the Cold War ended, it was 17 minutes ago. However, now, the Doomsday Clock has progressed greatly, and it has been announced that it will be 1 minute and 30 seconds until the end of mankind.
How should we pray in such circumstances? This is what the Bible says. 2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. 3 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. 4 Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. 5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. (Colossians 4:2-6)
① Awake and pray (verse 2)
Today we can see signs of the end of the world. The greatest sign can be said to be the founding of the State of Israel. As Jesus Christ prophesied, Israel was destroyed and it happened in 70 AD and the Israelites were scattered all over the world and became a wandering people. It lasted 1900 years, but they never lost their ethnic identity. This is a miracle. And in 1948 Israel was re-established. In the description of the Bible, Israel appears at the end of the world, but there was no nation of Israel until about 100 years ago, so many people thought that the words of the Bible were unrealistic. But now it is different. With the rebirth of the state of Israel, history has begun to move in a big way. It is also prophesied that Jews from all over the world will return to Israel, and that is currently happening.
And now Russia is invading Ukraine, and it is prophesied in Ezekiel 38 of the Old Testament that Russia will attack Israel at the end of the world. The Gog that appears here is present-day Russia. At that time, Persia, now Iran, was also listed as an ally. Iran is a country that has vowed to destroy Israel. When we apply it to the current situation where Israel is founded, Russia proves to attack other countries, and Iran wants to destroy Israel, we can see that these things can happen at any time. It is amazing that the Book of Ezekiel was written 2,600 years ago. I feel that the end of the world is finally approaching. So we must be awake.
When Jesus prayed in Gethsemane just before he was crucified, he asked the disciples to pray together. “ Keep watch ” (Mark 14:34). But what about the disciples? they fell asleep. How sad and lonely the Lord Jesus must have tasted! We are in the last days of the world, and Jesus in heaven is praying, but I believe that Jesus wants his modern-day disciples (we) to join him in praying. Jesus said to his disciples who had fallen asleep. “ Watch and keep praying, lest you fall into temptation ” (Mark 14:38) .
We must be spiritually awake. We need to know what time it is. One of the skills necessary for modern life is spiritual insight. The world will not tell us that. The world does not know it. But we can know through the Bible, through the Word of God. That is true knowledge.
We also need to wake up physically. For me, I drink coffee before my early morning prayers. I pray as I walk. It’s because I don’t sleep. It is also important to pray unceasingly. Don’t give up and keep praying persistently.
Don’t give up because our prayers are slow to be answered. This is because today’s prayer, the prayer we will offer from now on, may be the final blow that opens the gates of heaven. Before Pentecost, the disciples prayed for ten days and were infused with the Holy Spirit. However, there must have been people who prayed for a week, but gave up after 8 or 9 days and withdrew from the prayer meeting. But if they continued to attend prayer meetings for one more day, they could have experienced Pentecost in the same way, but some people did not experience the work of the Holy Spirit at that time.
As we have been living Christian life and church life for a long time, there are times when worship services become monotonous and prayers are unresponsive. But at that time, it is important not to stop attending worship services and not to stop praying. Because we do not know when the end of the world will come, when the second coming of Jesus Christ will come, when the revival will come, or when the Holy Spirit will come. On February 8th of this year, a sudden revival occurred at Asbury University in Kentucky, USA. So it is important for us to pray always.
② Intercessory Prayer (verse 3)
The Apostle Paul asks the church of Colossae to “pray to open the gates” (verse 3). Paul believed in the power of prayer. That’s why he asked the church for prayer. Let us also pray for various workers. We can participate in world missions through prayer.
One sign of the end times is the completion of world missions. Bible translation is progressing rapidly. The people of Wycliffe are translating the Bible. It’s a noble job. Evangelism to unreached lands is also progressing. We can pray for such works.
Let us believe that through prayer various doors of evangelism will be opened. Let us pray that we too will be able to preach the gospel boldly when it is opened.
③ Evangelism (verse 6)
The Lord Jesus said “ You are the salt of the earth ” (Matthew 5:13).Salt is essential in cooking. Season with salt and the dish will be delicious. Each person’s life is unique. I’m sure we’ve experienced many things. Their experience are all kept alive. Of course, it is also important to speak the gospel of Jesus Christ simply and boldly.
At the same time, I would suggest that we prepare our own testimony. Because the gospel message can be denied, but our testimony will not. Who can deny what we have actually experienced? There is no need for the testimony to be as dramatic as Paul’s.
But in order to make it easier to understand, I was conscious of the Before After and asked, “How was I before I believed in Jesus Christ? → How did I believe in Jesus Christ? → How did I change after believing in Jesus Christ?” I think it’s good to talk in that flow. In my case, I would say, “I was seized with the fear of death → I believed in the resurrected Jesus Christ who defeated death (John 11:25) → I was freed from the fear of death.”
All we have to do is carry a tract. Keep it in our bag. I will try to pass the tract if there is any chance. Because I don’t know how it will be used. I have heard testimonies like this. It seems that the person received the tract and put it in the book he was reading at that time without interest. It was forgotten, but about 10 years later, when he was sorting out his books for a move, He saw the tract. Compare to 10 years ago, the situation has changed, and he was worried about his life. And he took the plunge and went to the church that was written on the tract, and he believed in Jesus Christ and was saved. Hallelujah!
What is important to Christians? Worship is best. But I would like to remember that prayer and evangelism are also important. Prayer and evangelism are especially important for us living in the last days of the world. The Lord Jesus wants us to do these two works. Let’s respond with the help of the Holy Spirit.