Prayer, Earnest and Awake

Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. (Colossians 4:2-4)

We know that the Apostle Paul prayed for the Colossian Christians. An example of his prayer for them is found in Colossians 1:3-8. Paul prayed for them, now toward the end of his letter, he told them to keep on praying themselves.

Specifically, Paul told them (and all Christians) to continue earnestly in prayer. This sort of earnest prayer is important, but does not come easy. Earnestly in prayer speaks of great effort that is steadily applied. Much of our prayer is powerless because it lacks earnestness. Too often we pray almost with the attitude of wanting God to care about things we really don’t care too much about.

Earnest prayer has power not because it in itself persuades a reluctant God. Instead, it demonstrates that our heart cares passionately about the same things God cares about. This fulfills what Jesus promised in John 15:7: If you abide in Me and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire and it shall be done for you.

Our prayers are not only to be earnest, but also vigilant. According to William Barclay, the idea behind the word translated vigilant is awake. In a sense, Paul told us to not fall asleep in prayer. Sometimes, because of the tiredness of our body or mind, we struggle against sleep when we pray. Other times we pray as if we were asleep, and our prayers simply sound and feel tired, sleepy.

Our earnestness and vigilance should also have thanksgiving. God gives us so much and blesses us with so much, that we should always thank Him as we ask Him.

Paul went on to give them something specific to pray for –himself! He wrote, “meanwhile praying also for us.” Paul seemed to say, “As long as we are on the subject of prayer, please pray for us!” But Paul didn’t ask for prayer for his personal needs (which were many), but that God would open to us a door for the word. Paul knew that when God’s word was active and free to work, great things happened for God.

Finally, notice that Paul asked the Colossians to pray for his preaching, so that he could speak the mystery of Christ, and do it as he ought to speak. When Paul wrote this, he was in chains for proclaiming the word of God. He wanted Christians to pray that he would keep doing proclaiming God’s word, and do it better all the time.

Pray earnestly, pray vigilantly – and if you can, pray for me. If Paul needed that prayer, I need it much more. Pray that the Lord continues to give David Guzik open doors to spread God’s word, and that I may proclaim His word as I ought to speak. Thank you!


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