The super-apostle Paul is not above asking for prayer. He knew full well that he was incapable of anything without the power of God at work within him and the prayers of his brothers and sisters in Christ. He encourages the believers at Colossae to DEVOTE themselves to prayer-'make it your highest priority'-and to pray with an ALERT MIND and a THANKFUL HEART. Employ your reason and your emotion as you pray. I find more and more as I pray that I'm overwhelmed emotionally and it reminds me of how Jesus felt when he observed the suffering around Him. We are told that His heart went out to people-or a more literal translation, 'His bowels moved within Him'! The nearer to Jesus we grow, the more upset and joyful we will feel and our prayer life will be a natural extension of our feelings and thoughts. The particular area of prayer which Paul encourages here concerns the spread of the Gospel. We are told in the book of Acts that the early believers 'gossiped' the Gospel: it was so on their minds that they couldn't help but chat about it on a day to day level. We pray for opportunities for ourselves and others to do the same and we pray for wisdom in what we say, how we say it and when to shut up when those opportunities arise. Spending over twenty years in a fairly small village demonstrated to me that hungry souls can so easily be put off by the wrong words spoken. I remember one young woman who came to Alpha after our minister had spent a lot of time chatting to her and in the question time at the end, the leader of her small group was clear that unbelievers went to hell. This young woman's father had died recently: she never returned to the course or church much to our minister's despair. Don't be so worried about potentially giving someone what you think is a less than complete answer; do worry about being sensitive to that person's situation. Know when to shut up!
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