As you quiet yourself for this brief time, be willing to be open to God, however that may take place.
Colossians 4:2-18 (NRSV)
Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with thanksgiving. 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, so that I may reveal it clearly, as I should.
Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer everyone.
Tychicus will tell you all the news about me; he is a beloved brother, a faithful minister, and a fellow servant in the Lord. I have sent him to you for this very purpose, so that you may know how we are and that he may encourage your hearts; he is coming with Onesimus, the faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will tell you about everything here.
Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, as does Mark the cousin of Barnabas, concerning whom you have received instructions—if he comes to you, welcome him. And Jesus who is called Justus greets you. These are the only ones of the circumcision among my co-workers for the kingdom of God, and they have been a comfort to me. Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you. He is always wrestling in his prayers on your behalf, so that you may stand mature and fully assured in everything that God wills. For I testify for him that he has worked hard for you and for those in Laodicea and in Hierapolis. Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas greet you. Give my greetings to the brothers and sisters in Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house. And when this letter has been read among you, have it read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you read also the letter from Laodicea. And say to Archippus, “See that you complete the task that you have received in the Lord.”
I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.
Paul’s letters show such a powerful connection among the first century Christians. The open love, encouragement, and support that they shared is certainly something to strive for in the modern church. The power in this passage comes not only in the prayers and love being shared, but in what prayers are being requested. Verse 12 describes Epaphras who is “wrestling in his prayers” for the church of Colossae, so that this congregation of which he is a part can remain strong and mature in the faith.
Verses 3-4 speak volumes of Paul’s faith in his prayer requests. He is in a Roman prison, which is probably a large room with lots of people and really unsanitary conditions. Yet when Paul gets an opportunity to send prayer requests to his friends, he doesn’t ask to be released from prison. Instead he asks for opportunities to share the gospel—which is why he is in jail. It is as if Paul has a compulsion to share the good news. He cannot keep it inside no matter the consequences—a fine example for modern Christians to emulate.
God, thank you for the Christian community you have placed in my life. Help me to be a faithful friend. Help me to pray with confidence on behalf of my fellow Christians. Help me to pray for the right things—not the things the world would have me want, but the gifts you know we all need. Help me to feel the encouragement and support of those who are in prayer for me. Amen.
Go with God.