Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. (Colossians 4:2-6 NIV)
It looks like winter outside, but inside at my computer it feels warm and comfortable. I am very grateful for shelter. I’m grateful for a selfish reason. As long as it is raining, I can’t go outside and weed whack the fenced in area of the yard. I think Paul has something far beyond this in mind.
For Paul, prayer is to be a constant activity. As he sits in prison bound in chains his foundational attitude is gratitude. This does not mean that he is blissfully unaware of his circumstances. It is because of his circumstances that he sends this command to the Colossians and to us. We are surrounded by threats and we must be aware of them. To ignore them would increase our vulnerability. When we know that the area we’re going to be walking into is filled with mosquitoes we put on mosquito repellent to reduce the chance of being bitten. Paul wants us to put on temptation repellent. Awake or asleep, inside or outside, alone or in a group, Satan is continually looking for an opportunity to move us away from God. Being aware of this we must be in constant communication with God.
Recognizing that we are constantly being threatened could lead us to adopt an attitude of fear or discouragement. For me this displays itself in various forms of whining. Paul is encouraging us to adopt a totally different attitude. He wants us to be thankful. He wants us to be looking for opportunities to share our relationship with God with others. We are not a defeated people; we are a victorious people. We may be experiencing pain, but we are alive forever.
For my grandchildren:
Thank God every morning when you wake up for the opportunities to come.