Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Colossians 4:2-4
Paul amazes me. In this passage, he is asking for prayer for an open door. Then, he mentions that he’s actually imprisoned. My first thought is that the open door would be the prison door. But, Paul is more concerned with proclaiming the message clearly. Of course, his crime was proclaiming the message, so maybe he should have sought prayers for obscurity. I don’t know that I would have fared so well.
My picture appeared in the Greenville News a couple of years ago. Three other pedestrians and I were using a newly decommissioned crosswalk downtown. Technically, we were jaywalking. There was no big sign reading “Don’t cross here any more.” They just packed up the crosswalk signs, allowed the strips on the road to fade, and put up a couple of cones. There is a fine line between decommissioning and lack of maintenance. How were we to know? The photographer didn’t take my name, so I suppose that I am currently on the lam. Next time, I will cross at the corner now that I know it’s not a crosswalk. Whew! Glad to get that confession out there.
What I do freely in proclaiming the message of Christ, Paul did hard time for and with a good attitude. Paul’s secret was simply this: devote yourself to prayer. To devote, according to dictionary.com, is to apply oneself entirely to a particular activity. Paul instructed the Thessalonians to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). How do you do that?
There are several ways. Some people will set alarms on their computer or phone calendars throughout the day to remind them to stop and pray. Others will establish short prayer times throughout the day. Some, rather than stop to think about something, will stop to pray about something. Rather than thinking, “That person irritates me. I just can’t seem to get my work done when she’s around,” pray this “Lord, I am having a hard time with this person. Help me to deal with them and get my work done.” Ask and you will receive (John 16:24).
My prayer is that Jeanne Brooks, the author of the Greenville News article, doesn’t read these devotionals. She could turn me in. What is the fine for jaywalking in ignorance? Besides I'm from Kansas. I wasn't jaywalking. I was Jayhawking!
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