We finish Colossians today. That was fast wasn’t it? We are currently reading through Paul’s letters and they are arranged in the New Testament by size; largest to smallest. This means we will continue to accelerate through the next few books.
At the beginning of today’s passage Paul writes about relationships. My Bible has a header “Rules for Christian Households”. I don’t view those verses so much as rules for a household as they are a call for us to be in right relationship with each other. Verse two of chapter four is about relationship with God.
Colossians 4:2 ESV
“Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.”
Prayer is all about our relationship with God. Can you have a close relationship with someone to whom you rarely speak? Put another way, can you have a close relationship with someone to whom you never listen? We tend to think of prayer as a one way street. We share our hurts, concerns, and desires with God and then we go along our way; in fact, we usually only pray when we want something. What would your life be like if you only spoke to the people in your life when you wanted something? What if you only spoke with them to tell them what you want but never sat still long enough to listen to what they had to say? I think your life would be rather empty of relationships.
Now let me ask you this. What would your life be like if you prayed daily to God, both sharing your hurts, concerns and desires and listening to Him? Now I don’t mean to suggest that God will suddenly start audibly speaking a sermon to you. Picture this; prior to your Bible reading you kneel in prayer, you praise God, you thank God, you confess your sins to God and ask for forgiveness, you share your thoughts and concerns with Him and then you ask Him to open your heart and mind to His truth as you read His Holy Word. Now, with your heart and mind in a prayerful attitude you do your daily Bible reading. Upon completing your reading it’s your turn to listen. Just close your eyes and in an attitude of prayer listen for what God might lay upon your heart. He might bring you some insight, or provide you with some direction or comfort; He might not provide you with anything at all at that moment. Perhaps at that moment you just need to be still and know that He is God. It isn’t about teasing answers out of God but rather about putting quality time in to your relationship with Him.
Do you think your relationship with Him would improve if you took such an approach? I bet it would. Brothers, let me not come across as holier than thou. One of my goals is to improve the quality of my prayer time. Paul reminds us that we are to “continue in steadfast prayer”. I firmly believe that daily Bible reading and prayer are two essential building blocks of the mature Christian life. We cannot mature to our full potential until we have mastered these basic Christian disciplines. I have noticed that Paul will sometimes refer to the need of Christians to mature in Christ and he does so in today’s passage. You and I know we have a good deal of maturing to do. Let us make sure we have firmly laid the foundations of our maturity on the essential building blocks of daily Bible reading and prayer with Christ as the corner stone. Continue brothers, steadfastly in prayer.