Father, I ask You for both watchfulness and thankfulness.
Read COLOSSIANS 4:2–6
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.
New International Version (NIV)
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Paul says to walk in wisdom before unbelievers (5). What does that say about living in the proverbial fishbowl?
There are three central aspects of the Christian life which are intertwined and appear together in today’s passage: people, prayer and proclamation. The first significant thing to note is that Paul knows he needs help. We’ll see this later in the chapter, but in today’s passage he deliberately underlines his need of others—including new believers in this small and fledgling church. “Pray for us,” he says (3). Pray that I’ll be able to do the job. I need your help. So it is for each of us: we need others, however experienced in the faith we might be.
At the heart of Paul’s request is prayer. Three key words in verse 2 need to be applied to our prayers. “Devote” implies true commitment, and perseverance, as we faithfully pray day after day. Later he refers to Epaphras, “always wrestling in prayer” (Col. 4:12). It’s a tough job, and we must be determined. “Watchful” is language from guard duty. The Colossians were under threat from false teaching and, as Jesus asked his disciples in the garden of Gethsemane, they are to keep alert and pray. Same for us. “Thankful” should always be the attitude underlying our intercession. We are watchful, but not anxious. Thankfulness runs through the whole letter and should be the posture in which we make all of our requests to the Father (Col. 1:3,4,12; 2:7; 3:15,16,17).
Proclamation is the overall purpose. Paul needs prayerful support because he must “proclaim the mystery of Christ” (3), because doors need to open for that to happen, and because he needs to proclaim it clearly (4). He continues that theme by highlighting the responsibility of the Colossians to grasp every opportunity to speak the truth with wisdom and grace (5,6). People, prayer and proclamation: we need all three.
Resolve today to seek the prayerful help of others, as well as to pray for open doors for the Gospel.
Lord, give me the wisdom to behave in such a way as to bring glory and honor to Your name and work.
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