2 Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. 3 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— 4 that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.
5 Walk in wisdom towards outsiders, making the best use of the time. 6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.
7 Tychicus will tell you all about my activities. He is a beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow servant[b] in the Lord. 8 I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are and that he may encourage your hearts, 9 and with him Onesimus, our faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will tell you of everything that has taken place here.
10 Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, and Mark the cousin of Barnabas (concerning whom you have received instructions—if he comes to you, welcome him), 11 and Jesus who is called Justus. These are the only men of the circumcision among my fellow workers for the kingdom of God, and they have been a comfort to me. 12 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. 13 For I bear him witness that he has worked hard for you and for those in Laodicea and in Hierapolis. 14 Luke the beloved physician greets you, as does Demas. 15 Give my greetings to the brothers at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house. 16 And when this letter has been read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you also read the letter from Laodicea. 17 And say to Archippus, “See that you fulfil the ministry that you have received in the Lord.”
18 I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.
I walk down the busy streets of Chicago with one thing on my mind. It is not the world-class architecture from the city full of skyscrapers. It is not the traffic that races to beat the lights at the intersections. And unfortunately, it is not the God who holds all of reality together and orchestrates mankind’s destiny. I think of one problem in my world and I obsess on it. Day by day it varies. Today it was the problem of recording an audio book. The question was whether the book would sound good. I was worrying whether the spirit of the book would carry on as well as it did last Thursday when we recorded chapters 1-17 (they are short chapters). I was ready to launch into the task without a thought for God, when suddenly Jon Gauger, who was running the session, suggested we should pray.
That changed everything.
My mind became aware of the God who had always been in the room and whose message we hoped to communicate. My stress levels lowered as though God was sliding down the knob on his sound board. When we noticed that there was a typo in chapter 20 which will not be addressed unless there is a reprint, it didn’t seem to matter. I saw the flaw as a reminder that we are not in control, we are not perfect, and with our flaws we are accepted by God.
Continuous prayer focuses the mind on God. A mind focused on God prays continuously. What will often bring my mind to God is letting myself assess my emotions. There are usually signs that all is not quite right in the world and so this then pushes me toward God. He listens to my cares and worries and he starts to wash them away with his provision and compassion. After removing the obstacles to his will, I see his direction more clearly. I become less conscious of self. I leave behind shame and pride. I can function with confidence in him and I can begin forgetting myself.
A life of continuous prayer is a life in the presence of God. We are aligned with him and peace comes for a visit. Reminding the mind to focus on things above, not on earthly things, is a discipline that can be helped by turning on God-focused music, listening to Moody Radio, or leaving an open Bible by the bathroom mirror. Remembering that this is not a cognitive exercise, but a dynamic relationship, a conversation should start. We cry out to God and the heavens pour forth speech. Jon reminded me to pray today. I am reminding you. God is waiting for all of us to share the details of life with him.
Father, I thank you that you brought my mind back to you when I was focused on my to-do-list.
- What directives does Paul give in this passage?
- Which people does Paul mention?
- Why does Paul list people?
- How continuously do you pray?
- How could your life reflect the faithfulness of Paul’s companions more?