If you have ever studied Colossians, it should come as no surprise that Paul’s final instructions to Colossae start with prayer. Paul was an extraordinary man of faith, and through his writing here, this becomes evidentially obvious. Paul knew intimately the power of prayer as is so clear from Colossians 4:2-4 (ESV):
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.
I have talked with people often about why we pray. On more times than I can count, the question will often arise: If God already knows what I need, or what I want, why do I need to keep talking to Him about it? And if I do pray about someone or something, would not one time be enough? But when it comes to prayer, it is about so much more than the act itself.
Prayer is about our necessary connection with Christ—the ability to bring Him into everything we do. And for someone like Paul, and for all of us ultimately, we pray expectantly knowing that when we do so, He answers us perfectly. Maybe not always in the way we hope, but God does answer us, and by bringing Him into all that we do, we are able to become the people that He created us to be.
As we learn from Colossians, Christ is “Better Than” anything we could possibly imagine. In all aspects of our life, the transformational power of Christ changes us when we make Him the Lord and Savior of our lives; from our outlook on life, to our everyday experiences, to our relationships, and beyond. It is the very core of what it means to be “watchful in [prayer] with thanksgiving.”
As Paul immediately points out after his statement on prayer, one of the ways we see this is in the immediate impact of its results. Here is how he describes it for us in Colossians 4:5-6 (ESV):
Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.
With the Holy Spirit as our guide, our life takes on a different flavor. We not only think about others differently, but we find ways to optimize the moments in life God gifts us with. We become people that build each other up, encouraging one another with whatever is most needed at the time. We begin to think of other people first, and our ability to make a difference in the lives of those around us increases substantially.
Who we once were, in all of our brokenness, gives way to something new and wholly alive. And who we now are is one of God’s many saints, partnered up and working together to reflect God’s glory back to Him in the most exciting journey of all, one of Kingdom significance. Thus, may we all in response do exactly what Paul did, and pray in faithful anticipation—holding fast to what Paul also writes in Ephesians 3:14–19 (ESV):
“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory He may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
Grace be with us all as we work together as a Church to show the people around us just why we truly believe that Jesus is indeed “Better Than” anything else we can put words to.
And like Paul directed to his beloved brother Archippus in Colossians 4:17, may we “fulfill the ministry [we] have received in the Lord.”
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF:
- What does it look like for us to pray with “watchful thanksgiving”?
- How should we utilize prayer in helping us mature as followers of Jesus?
- What can we learn about our partners in life and ministry from Paul’s Final Greetings in Colossians 4:2-17?
- What are some things in your life that you’ve viewed as “Better Than” Jesus?
- Do you fully understand why Jesus is “Better Than” anything else in life? (And if you do not, let us know: https://www.harvestworld.com/contact-us/).
“BETTER THAN” – OUR STUDY OF COLOSSIANS IN REVIEW …
Colossians 4:2-18: “Our Own Strength” / Blog post and Study Guide: “Starting Out Where it Ends”
Colossians 3:18-4:1: “Our Old Relationships” / Blog post and Study Guide: “Gracious Reflections of a Savior’s Love”
Colossians 3:12-17: “Clothed in Christ” / Blog post and Study Guide: “A New Suit Pressed With Timeless Truth”
Colossians 3:1-11: “Our Old Self” / Blog post and Study Guide: “Life After Brambles of Old News”
Colossians 2:16-23: “In Christ Alone” / Blog post and Study Guide: “The Disappearing Shadows of Faith”
Colossians 2:6-15: “Freedom in Christ” / Blog post and Study Guide: “God Is There and He’s Not Hiding From You”
Colossians 1:24-2:5: “Mystery Revealed” / Blog post and Study Guide: “A Mystery Worth Discovering”
Colossians 1:15-23: “The Supremacy of Christ” / Blog post and Study Guide: “Jesus Christ Holds It Together“
Colossians 1:1-14: “The Pressure of the World” / Blog post and Study Guide: “An ‘Others’ Kind of Faithfulness”