READY TO WRESTLE?
Loving Lord, in pursuing you may I find you; in finding you may I serve you. May it be so today.
Read COLOSSIANS 4:2-18
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.
7 Tychicus will tell you all the news about me. He is a dear brother, a faithful minister and fellow servant[a] in the Lord. 8 I am sending him to you for the express purpose that you may know about our[b] circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts. 9 He is coming with Onesimus, our faithful and dear brother, who is one of you. They will tell you everything that is happening here.
10 My fellow prisoner Aristarchus sends you his greetings, as does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas. (You have received instructions about him; if he comes to you, welcome him.) 11 Jesus, who is called Justus, also sends greetings. These are the only Jews[c] among my co-workers for the kingdom of God, and they have proved a comfort to me. 12 Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured. 13 I vouch for him that he is working hard for you and for those at Laodicea and Hierapolis. 14 Our dear friend Luke, the doctor, and Demas send greetings. 15 Give my greetings to the brothers and sisters at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house.
16 After this letter has been read to you, see that it is also read in the church of the Laodiceans and that you in turn read the letter from Laodicea.
17 Tell Archippus: “See to it that you complete the ministry you have received in the Lord.”
18 I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectHow easy do you find it to pray? When do you find prayer plain hard work? Greet your Father now. He loves to hear your voice.
So many names and places (vs7-17)! Each of them is loved by God and part of Paul’s network of growing churches. In a world with no technological connectivity, what joins these folks together, moment-by-moment, is their access to the Father. Time, distance and circumstances simply don’t matter.
It is easy to think that prayer is about our telling God things he doesn’t know or reminding him of things he’s forgotten. It is exactly the opposite. Prayer is God drawing us into his agenda. He wants us to focus on what’s important to him and to be in step with his Spirit as he works in the world (v 3). We don’t even need words (see Romans 8:26). The verbs about prayer are strong: devote and wrestle (vs 2,12).
This is not a decoration on the edges of our faith. It is the substance of the fabric. For Paul, the focus was about fruitful ministry, faithful proclamation of the gospel and relationships that demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit. And that is all in the context of him being in chains (v 18)! It is true that prayer changes things, but even more profoundly, prayer changes us.
‘Be still, and know that I am God’ (Psalm 46:10). Take a moment to listen to what God wants you to pray for and about. Start the wrestling match. We know who will win!
Lord, thank you for this list of faithful believers. They challenge me to serve you alone, not the praise of others.
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