Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Finally Getting Something Useful Done

Think about the Apostle Paul. Here's a guy God used to plant churches, preach the gospel, produce inspired writings for the church, endure hostility, cast vision and receive visions. And he was basically a workhorse for the gospel.

So he's in prison, and there's not much he could do besides pray. But he didn't disdain prayer - in fact, he seemed to treasure it. Also, he didn't assume that the prayer bases were covered and therefore he could set the rest of the church to work on the "important" stuff - no, he urged prayer continually.

Colossians 4, written by an imprisoned Paul, has a few choice statements on prayer:

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

Keeping "watchful" in prayer is a key phrase. Jesus used it, too. I don't know how to define it, but I think I've experienced it... it is through prayer that God begins to move our hearts, direct us, even warn us. Paul could be highly strategic for the gospel without ever leaving his cell.

So can we.

So should we.

Another quick take from Colossians 4:

Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God. Colossians 4:12

We should not only be watchful in prayer, but also struggle in prayer.

And if you look at both these short passages, look at what flows from prayer: witness to others, maturity, assurance of the faith.

In short, let's pray. It's not just for those who don't have anything better to do.

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