SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- Paul finishes his thoughts by stressing the importance of prayer. Prayer opens doors for the message of Christ to be heard.
- Paul then encourages the Colossians to live wisely before non-believers. It is the grace they show that will bring people to God.
- Paul then closes his letter with several personal greetings, which was a very common practice.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- Prayer is not something we should do when we feel like it or occasionally think about it. Prayer is an essential priority for a follower of Jesus. Imagine if you never spoke to your spouse or your kids or your loved ones. Imagine if you walked by them every day in the house but never said a word. They may think something is wrong with you, and they may think you're mad or don't like them. The funny thing is, we would never really do that to our family. But we do it to God everyday. Paul encourages us to be mindful about prayer, to be devoted to prayer, and to keep our eyes open for things we should pray about and things we should be thankful for.
- Paul wants everyone to know Jesus, so he asks the Colossians to pray that he'll have opportunities to share Him with others effectively. But it's not just Paul's responsibility, it's every Christian's responsibility. This is why Paul urges them to be very careful about how they live. He knew that people form opinions about Jesus by the actions of those who claim to follow Him. This is why we should always be careful how we speak to non-believers. Our words should be full of grace and kindness.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- Being fully devoted to prayer may seem like a tall order. You may wonder where you are going to find the time to shut everything down and focus on it. And that approach may feel like a chore. But it doesn't have to. What if you saw prayer as those few moments with God in the morning in the shower? Maybe you could talk to him about your plans for the day. He just might have a different perspective for you. Or, what if you stole some time with God in the quiet of your car to and from work? You've heard those top 40 songs a million times already. I'm sure you won't miss them for a few days. And what about your evenings? I'm sure Honey Boo Boo or Jack Bauer won't miss you for 30 minutes. Be creative in finding time alone with God. Use those "wasted moments" to connect with God, talking to him as much as possible. Devoting time to prayer this way is a natural, unforced way to get to know God's heart for you.
- Do you "make the most of every opportunity" with people who are outside the faith? Are you careful about how you act and speak to them? Are your words gracious or argumentative? Are you kind or critical? Do you spend more time sharing your politics than your faith? Everything we do is setting an example for Jesus. Does your life represent Jesus well? Why or why not? Take some time this week to consider how you talk to your co-workers and friends. Do they see Jesus in you? If not, pray for God's help. He will hear you and help you.