Prayer starts here—Colossians 4:2-4

The prayers of Paul

This is a series on the prayers of St Paul found in the letters attributed to him in the order he is believed to have written them. Letters to the same place or person will be treated together with the first letter to that destination.

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.

Colossians 4:2-4 ESVUK

I have got it wrong again. When I have encouraged people to pray it is just that, encouragement. Or at least that is how I intend it, how you read it is up to you.

What Paul does is encourage the Colossians to pray and then give them something to pray about. I should have been more practical. I think my lack of practicality shows through the way I look at spiritual discipline in general, especially my own.

This passage is a turning point between Paul giving examples of Christian living. Not giving us the principles of how to live but clear examples. Wives to husbands, husbands to wives, children to parents, parents to children, slaves or servants to owners and slave owners to slaves. It is not an exhaustive list, but they are examples of how to live, to help us in all our relationships.

Paul’s personal concerns are about the spread of the Gospel, which fits in with his calling to be an evangelist but at the same time seems unusual for a person in prison. For Paul, being locked up, even in chains, should not get in the way of spreading the good news about Jesus Christ to whoever is around, even if he is confined to seeing only other inmates, warders and the occasional visitor. But he is not asking for the freedom to get out and evangelise in the world again, just for the freedom to speak to those around him in his current situation.

Paul’s concern for the Colossian Christians is about their relationships, in the situation where they are living which ties in with the concerns for himself, that he might be free to speak to those around him. Prayer starts here, where we are. I am not knocking those who pray for situations they see in other lands involving people they have never met, but prayer starts where we are and is for those we meet. If we can learn to pray for them. Then we can move on to other concerns.

I pray for those who will read this, may you bring God into all your relationships. Please pray that I can be gracious and forgiving to other people.

Don’t forget to be thankful in your prayers. This last point is particularly written to me.

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