The Power of Speech – Part One
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, for which I am also in chains, that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one. – Colossians 4:2-6.
Tychicus, a beloved brother, faithful minister, and fellow servant in the Lord, will tell you all the news about me. I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that he may know your circumstances and comfort your hearts, with Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will make known to you all things which are happening here. – Colossians 4:7-9.
Never underestimate the power of speech. Whether the communication is oral or written, there is great power in words.
A judge says a few words, and a man’s life is saved or condemned. A doctor speaks a few words, and a patient either rejoices ecstatically or gives up in despair. I have heard it said that for every word in Adolph Hitler’s book Mein Kampf, 125 persons lost their lives in World War II.
The power of speech is a gift from God, and it must be used the way God ordains. In the Book of James, the tongue is compared to a bridle and a rudder, a fire and a poisonous animal, and a fruitful tree and a fountain (James 3). These three pairs of pictures teach us that the tongue has the power to direct, the power to destroy, and the power to delight. The tongue is but a little member in our bodies, but it can accomplish great things for good or for evil.
We’re going to point out the four most important ministries of speech as Paul wrote in this letter. Praying is the first:
“Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; meanwhile praying also for us.”
Prayer and worship are perhaps the highest uses of the gift of speech. Paul was not ashamed to ask his friends to pray for him. Even though he was an apostle, he needed prayer support for himself and his ministry. If a great Christian like Paul felt the need for prayer support, how much more do you and I need this kind of spiritual help! In these few words, Paul described the characteristics of a satisfying and spiritual prayer life.