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)
Sometimes, we think of prayer as a default option when our plans don’t work out or we face a crisis. In Colossians 4:2-4, Paul encourages the church at Colossae to, “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.” The presupposition is that prayer for the Christian, like repentance, is a lifestyle. This interpretation is a practical approach towards prayer which Paul consistently teaches in his epistles, “pray without ceasing.” (1 Th. 5:17)
So, what does prayer look like in the life of a believer? First, it is focused, persistent, and bold. Remember the story of the widow and the unrighteous judge in Luke 18:1-8? Jesus told us this parable to remind us of the fact, “And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night?” There is something to be said for a prayer life that is dependent on God, regardless of our means or circumstances.
Secondly, pray for others. In our passage, Paul is asking the church to pray for his ministry that the door would be opened for the gospel. Since it is God who opens the heart, perhaps we should pray fervently not just for missions, but for our families, our neighbors, and our friends. Ask God to give us the very words to speak “to declare the mystery of Christ.”
Finally, prayer is the steadfast, persistent communication with our heavenly Father and not “rocket science.” We need an authentic, broken, and contrite heart to approach Jesus, the Son of God, and our heavenly high priest. “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16) So then, we just need to pray. It is a discipline that must be developed; it will not happen overnight.