Today is our last Colossians study! Paul wraps up his letter by outlining the importance of prayer, and how we should be engaging with those who aren't in the faith. Take a quick minute and read the chapter.
In this last chapter, Paul reminds the church at Colossae to devote themselves to prayer, and to have an attitude of thanksgiving about it. When we read phrases like "devote yourselves to prayer," our brains automatically try to draw a mental picture of how often that means we should pray. Throughout the Bible, it's written that God calls His people to "pray day and night" and to "pray without ceasing" – which sounds like an awful lot.
What Paul is describing is a disciplined approach towards prayer, and not in a militant kind of way. It's in a way like you would be disciplined to check in with your spouse each day, or spend time with your loved ones – you don't ignore them or stop making plans to spend time with them because it would harm your relationship. You're devoted to them. In the same way, Paul calls us to be devoted in conversation with God. Prayer is an incredible privilege given to us through Christ's death and by the power of the Holy Spirit in us – and what helps us turn this disciplined duty into a delight is to have "an attitude of thanksgiving." Coming to the Lord with a grateful heart keeps the daily worries and selfish desires of our lives in perspective. We have a God who knows us intimately, and who delights in us. Prayer deeply strengthens our faith and reminds us who we are in Him. It reorients our hearts over and over again.
Paul also makes a note on how we should walk with unbelievers – he says to "conduct yourselves with wisdom... making the most of the opportunity." There are numerous verses that call us to "pray for wisdom." Solomon asked for God's greatest gift, which was wisdom. Conducting ourselves with wisdom means to behave wisely, which is something that expands over everything we do. It means to use our knowledge to encourage each other towards truth – not to harm or just to prove that we're right. It means to listen more than we speak. It means to respond in love instead of jealousy, hate, or ignorance. It doesn't come easy or naturally, which is why we're called, over and over again, to ask God to give us His wisdom. When we live lives focused on God and His truth, we are making the most of every opportunity. Our eyes, ears, and hearts are tuned to listen for where there is need and to respond appropriately. It's a selfless way of living, and it brings so much glory to God.
Paul loves his fellow Christians dearly, and encourages them to keep walking in faith, even when it's confusing or scary. This is how we're called to love one another – with a love that is fierce, true, and always about our God.
I've loved walking through this letter with you, and am prayerfully preparing a new book for us to read together in March! You might also notice a new ad in the sidebar for a women's prayer retreat. It'll take place Friday evening, March 6th through Sunday morning, March 8th, and I would love to have you join us! There's already a few ladies signed up, but there's room for a couple more. Think about it, pray about it, and let me know if you're interested! If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.
Each week, I create an iPhone background with a verse and share it here on TPA. Having God's Word in front of me several times a day helps me in so many ways – it soothes my heart and mind with truth, strengthens my faith, and helps me memorize Scripture so that I can accurately share it with others. Feel free to download the image for your own phone (and pin it and share it, too!) as many times as you'd like.