“Masters, be just and fair to your slaves. Remember that you also have a Master—in heaven. Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. Pray for us, too, that God will give us many opportunities to speak about his mysterious plan concerning Christ. That is why I am here in chains. Pray that I will proclaim this message as clearly as I should. Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.”
- As Paul begins the last chapter in Colossians, he tackles the inward and outward life. In these five short verses he makes an appeal to the hidden life of prayer as well as public living before a watching world. He says we should be devoted to prayer but also making the most of every opportunity to speak about Christ.
- “The word for ‘devote yourselves’ (proskartereite), used ten times in the NT, is translated in a variety of ways – ‘continue,’ ‘continue instant,’ continue steadfastly.’ Built on a root meaning ‘to be strong,’ it always connotes earnest adherence to a person or thing. In this passage it implies persistence and fervor.” (Expositor’s Bible Commentary)
- So first Paul calls the believers of Colossae to be devoted to prayer. I find this a daily challenge. There are so many “tasks” from the moment my feet hit the floor – dishwashers to unload, emails to answer, kids with needs, and laundry – we have to be devoted to it whether we want to or not – it “continues steadfastly” in the Spoelstra house.
- I need a challenge like Paul’s to be devoted to prayer. My tendency toward self-reliance and checking off my to-do list doesn’t naturally lend itself to the stillness, authenticity, and discipline of getting before my Creator and talking and listening. However, as I devote myself to the practice – I find several things:
- I worry less and trust more.
- The delineation of the urgent and the important become more clear.
- I hear God’s needed guidance and direction as I ask and then listen.
- Next, this passage flows from the inward life of prayer to the public life. How do I behave around other believers and also those who don’t follow Christ? Paul reminds us to live with right responses. He tells us our speech should be gracious and attractive. Christians have a bad track record with this. History shows us a group of people who sometimes claimed the name of Christ while committing atrocities or using faith as a weapon to manipulate rather than love.
- If you wore a hidden camera throughout the day, would it reveal that you are devoted to prayer?
- What needs to change in your priorities in order to spend more time in God’s presence – reading His Word, telling Him all your struggles and victories. I know as I read this text, God’s Spirit is calling me to start journaling prayers again. I’ve gotten away from it – and I miss it. Writing is a way I connect with Jesus, maybe for you its something different – Walks with Jesus in the evenings, getting on your knees or your face for time with Him, setting aside a specific time of the day to pray? Think of one way you can be devoted to prayer today.
- Now, how does your time with Jesus flow into your public life. When you interact with others, is your conversation “gracious and attractive”? God calls us to make the most of every opportunity – even when we are tired, frustrated, or treated poorly. Our response in real life situations speaks much louder than our preaching.
Adoration: Praise God that He wants us to come to Him in prayer continually.
Confession: Admit any ungracious conversations you’ve had recently that might hinder your testimony for Christ. Ask God to reveal any action steps you need to take.
Thanksgiving: Thank God that He gives us new opportunities even when we’ve messed up.
Supplication: Ask God to grow you in the discipline of prayer.