Thursday, March 12, 2009

Prayer in Colossians 4

In my devotions this morning, I came to Colossians 4, where Paul addresses general issues, but also requests prayer. As someone who regularly moves in contexts where the gospel is on trial, and I'm the one trying to defend it, I found this invitation to prayer, particularly moving. Currently, I'm also enjoying David Crump's book: Knocking on Heaven's Door: A New Testament Theology of Petitionary Prayer. It is one of the best books on prayer I've ever read, plus it is filled with exegetical insights, deep theological reflection, and much pastoral wisdom.
Today I'm off to JHB (or Jozi, as it is affectionately termed). There I will preach the gospel to many young people gathered from all around this great city. So, if you're the praying type, pray that God not only opens a door, but helps the preacher be faithful to the apostolic message, explaining it clearly - as he should!
4:2-4 Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with thanksgiving. 3 At the same time pray for us as well that God will open to us a door for the word, that we may declare the mystery of Christ, for which I am in prison, 4 so that I may reveal it clearly, as I should.
Paul’s faithfulness to his calling (both to preach and to pray) was, in part, a consequence of the devoted intercessions offered by brothers and sisters in Christ. He was held up, buoyed toward heaven, by the supportive petitions of numerous communities dotted throughout the Mediterranean. To this degree, Paul’s urgency was a partial fruit of the communal intensity shared among his many disciples and prayer partners, wedded undoubtedly with a deep sense of mutual responsibility.[1]
The advancement of apostolic mission requires and invites prayer from the people of God. It is a necessary feature of Paul’s mission that he asks for those who are faithful to continually pray for him and those with him as they seek to minister to fellow believers, announce the gospel of King Jesus, and establish faithful communities of followers devoted to the King and the kingdom.
So pray!
David Crump, Knocking on Heaven’s Door: A New Testament Theology of Petitionary Prayer, (Baker, 2006) pg. 245

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