SCRIPTURE: Colossians 4:2-5
2 Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with thanksgiving. 3 At the same time pray for us as well that God will open to us a door for the word, that we may declare the mystery of Christ, for which I am in prison, 4 so that I may reveal it clearly, as I should. 5 Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the time.
For verse two, Richard R. Melick offers some important insight when he writes, “The first characteristic of prayer is ‘watch-fulness.’ The term implies mental alertness. The Colossians’ prayers were to be in tune with the times…The Colossians were to pray with mental alertness. Presumably, this meant that they were to know the circumstances of life, particularly those which affected the spread of the gospel. Informed prayer is likely to be more purposeful, personal, and powerful. Paul added the statement ‘in thanksgiving.’ This term (eucharistia) is found frequently in this epistle. The literal expression is ‘being watchful in thankfulness’…Thankfulness is the environment for good praying, and it provides a safeguard for informed praying. Paul’s circumstances could have been discouraging as he awaited trial for the gospel. To ensure a proper perspective, Paul urged that their prayer be offered in an attitude of thanks. This kind of prayer sees clearly the obstacles and difficulties but recognizes that God is able to work. The circumstances need not affect one’s joy.”
Paul’s instructions to the churches that he wrote to were meant to help the early Christians to grow in faith and understanding. But what I am always impressed with is how his words are often still of relevance for readers today. Even life-long Christians continue to learn new things from these ancient writings. Melick’s offering about prayer here is especially helpful I believe in how we think about and participate in the work of prayer. His statement, “The Colossians’ prayers were to be in turn with the times,” seems especially relevant right now amidst this time of the pandemic.
This is just one of many passages in the Bible that talk about or reference prayer. What are some of your favorites? What are some that have really shaped your prayer life? Are there any that challenge you?
Awesome God, your Son, Jesus Christ taught us to bring everything to you in prayer. He gave us the words of the Lord’s Prayer and prayed to you himself in the garden. Scripture is full of prayers and ways to pray and we thank you for those so that we might be better in our prayers and inspired in hearts. But we also know that there are times when we struggle to find the words. Help us to remember that you know our hearts and even when we cannot form the sentences, you still know. Thank you, God, for prayer, for this way that we can communicate with you, lifting our joys and concerns, our thanks and praise, our confessions and sins, knowing you always hear us. Amen.