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It seems that the longer we walk with Jesus, the more we “do for him,” the more extensive our experiences are, the easier it is to drift into thinking, “I got this! I know what I’m doing. I’m managing this Christian life thing pretty well.”

But that kind of thinking–although it might be appropriate in other areas of life where our mastery of the process or the material does make things easier–overlooks a significant component to life with Jesus. Specifically, the things that matter most in our life with the living God are the things that he does while inviting us to participate. What matters is what Jesus is doing in and through our lives–and that is not something we just “get” or manage well.

That’s part of why Paul’s words to the Colossians are such a helpful reminder. As he draws this letter to a close, he mentions prayer (as discussed in a few prior posts). But part of what is so intriguing is that Paul asks for the Colossians to pray for him. The veteran, experienced, competent, Bible-teaching, Spirit-empowered apostle, seasoned through years and years of marvelous and glorious ministry in the name of Christ . . . that Paul, asks for prayer.

Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned; that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak. (Colossians 4:2-4)

Paul is in prison–for the work of the ministry that he has given his life for. He has testified to the Gospel throughout most of the known world of the time. He has communicated the Gospel in compelling ways to Jew and Gentile alike, to slave and free, to rulers and shopkeepers. And the Lord has been pleased to bless it. And yet he asks for prayer.

He wants the Colossians saints to pray that God would make a way for his ongoing ministry, that the Lord would enable him to continue to speak about all that Christ has done, and that his Savior would work in such a way that the message he does share would be clear, the way he ought to speak about such great good news.

Why does Paul ask for prayer? Why ask for these things? Because Paul is aware that what matters most in what he is doing and how he is living is what God is doing. He asks for prayer because he knows that it is what Jesus does that counts.

I wonder. What does this awareness of Paul’s desire for others to pray say about my minimalistic prayers for the lives of others . . . and my nearly absent longing for others to pray strategically and intentionally for me?

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