Welcome to Wednesday’s Podcast. Our reading today is Colossians 1: 9-14. Today we’ll read verse 9:
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives
Circumstances change. For example you may have very small children and life can feel confined to the house. That can be hugely frustrating. And when we hear people ‘you can make a huge difference for God’ you may well think – yeah, great, but how?
Perhaps finances are tight. You’re experiencing sickness – all things that seem to confine & contain life.
Paul is writing to the Colossian church from prison and what strikes me from is this:
Paul’s does not let the circumstance of confinement contain him.
In other words while he cannot be with the Colossian church in person he can write to them – he can use the form of communication of the day and as he states in Verse 9 says ‘since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you.’
It’s tempting to think – I can’t make a difference until my circumstances change. We can all pray. Prayer makes a difference.
The circumstances of the Colossian church were pretty dire. There was a lot of opposition and oppression. There was intense spiritual warfare and some parts of the church were coming under the influence of false teaching and heresy – being drawn away from Jesus. Paul doesn’t offer counsel to avoid the circumstances but that the fledgling Christians would stand firm in the midst of battle so that the Colossian church wouldn’t become confined by the culture but that they would ‘walk in a way that is worthy of the Lord’ – ‘bearing fruit in every good work…’ (vs. 10)
Sandy Millar the former Vicar of Holy Trinity Brompton (for home of the Alpha Course) would often say in the most beautifully understated way ‘there’s a war on, don’t you know…’ It was a wonderful gentle reminder that Christians are born into a spiritual battle and as the apostle Paul demonstrates – we have a great weapon – prayer!
So, why pray?
Throughout the scriptures we see that men and women have talked to God in prayer. And Jesus shows us a model of prayer – he talks to God; he prays with others but also withdraws to pray alone with God.
The beauty of prayer is that we get to speak to God himself – face to face. We don’t need someone to pray on our behalf – like a priest of old testament- but little old me, you can talk directly to God.
I was reminded of this recently. Our son, Theo, has never (for some reason) being a great sleeper. He can often wake in the middle of the night. Sometimes, he’ll barge into our bedroom – at some very unearthly hour and ask for help. Mostly for something silly – he can’t find his blue Mini or he can’t find soft toy, bunny. He just walks right in and starts talking – doesn’t matter what time it is.
Timothy Keller, US pastor and theologian says this:
‘The only person who dares wake up a king at 3:00 AM for a glass of water is a child. We have that kind of access.’
And the truth is that Prayer is access to God. As my Son walks into our bedroom in the middle of the night – so too – we can barge into the throne room of heaven and ask God for His help and intervention.
The French monk Brother Lawrence taught that he can be as close to God as he washed up pots and pans as he could be in the chapel. That we can talk to God – bring to Him our concerns, our hopes, our hurts – everything – at anytime. When we’re walking to work; after we’ve dropped the kids off at school as we go for a run. It’s in all of these times that we can talk to God.
Irrespective of our circumstance – we can pray, we can talk to Jesus.
My Mom told a story recently of a little old lady – she’s housebound but decided not to get bitter about this and instead dedicate her days to prayer. Talk about confining circumstances. Well, my Mom’s home group were overjoyed and amazed when a message got back to them to say she was overjoyed because she’d been praying for an opportunity to share Jesus with someone. She’d somehow led the gasman to Christ the week before.
Father, show us how we can pray and who we can pray for. That you change circumstances.
BIBLE READING: Colossians 1: 9-14
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.