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There are a number of places in Scripture where we get a glimpse into someone’s prayer. As we listen to (or, more specifically, read) their prayers, we can get glimpses into how and what they think. (I’ve recently been spending some time with Jesus as he prays, recorded for us in John 17. Fascinating!)

In Paul’s letter to the Colossians, his request for the Colossians to pray also gives us a glimpse into Paul’s thinking. (See the prior posts “Never Not Needed” and “Do I Realize?”) Not only can we note that he really wants others to pray for him but in what he asks for we can see a little about how he thinks about his own ministry.

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 requests the Colossians to ask the Lord to empower him to “speak forth the mystery of Christ”–that is, to continue to work in him so that he will be able to keep on sharing the message of the good news about Jesus. But he also asks for an enablement so that he might “make it clear in the way I ought to speak.” The “it” he wants to make clear is “the mystery.” So what is Paul asking for?

Paul wants the Colossians to pray so that he will be able to speak the Gospel with the clarity that is appropriate and needed. And that thought challenges me more than a bit.

I don’t know that I give much thought to whether or not I speak the message of the Gospel with the clarity that is appropriate. I tend to operate with the perspective that if I am clear on the message of the Gospel (which, by grace, I hope I am), that when I sincerely share that message with someone else it should be clear to them. But in that I may have made an unwarranted assumption. Specifically, that my sharing of the Gospel automatically comes across with appropriate clarity.

In asking for prayer from the Colossians, Paul longs for at least two things: An open door for the opportunity to share the Gospel and an appropriate clarity for sharing the Gospel when that opportunity was present.

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