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Tragedy and Triumph | A Study in 2 Samuel | A silver crown and a sword Tragedy and Triumph | A Study in 2 Samuel | A silver crown and a sword

Daily Devotional | Prayer and Proclamation

Most sermons begin with a prayer. Sometimes we are tempted to treat it as a formality, like playing the national anthem before the game. Paul saw prayer as far more. For him, it was a source of help and power.

Sometimes when we pray, we say we are having our “devotions.” But in verse 2, Paul urges the Colossians to “devote” themselves to prayer. The Greek expresses the idea of being busily engaged with something. Prayer is not a formality but an occupation. Furthermore, it is a demanding occupation. It requires the disposition of someone who is on guard and keeping watch. Prayer also requires a particular kind of expectation. Not the disposition of someone who makes demands but a grateful and trusting spirit that believes that God will answer in a way best suited to our needs.

Paul asked the Colossians to pray that God would “open a door for our message” (v. 3). This is a striking request given his circumstance. We might have expected him, as a prisoner, to ask for his freedom or maybe for justice. Instead, he asks for an opportunity to make Christ known. Paul’s request reflects not only his sense of mission but also his conviction that success in preaching is dependent upon God. In addition to opportunity, Paul asked for clarity: “Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should” (v. 4). The skill that is required to preach is also a work of God.

Most opportunities to proclaim Christ happen outside the assembly of believers. That’s why Paul urges the Colossians to season their ordinary conversations with grace and salt (v. 6). Grace does not mean elegant speech but the message of grace. Salt alludes to Jesus’ command that His disciples be “the salt of the earth” (Matt. 5:13).

>> You do not need to be a pastor to proclaim the grace of Christ. As you pray today, ask God to give you the opportunity, clarity, and courage to tell someone about Jesus.

Pray with Us

Today we ask You for opportunities to tell others about Jesus, and the clarity and courage to seize every opportunity. May our lives proclaim the gospel as much as our words. Teach us to be constant in prayer.

BY Dr. John Koessler

John Koessler is Professor Emeritus of Applied Theology and Church Ministries at Moody Bible Institute. John authors the “Practical Theology” column for Today in the Word of which he is also a contributing writer and theological editor. An award-winning author, John’s newest title is When God is Silent: Let the Bible Teach You to Pray (Kirkdale). Prior to joining the Moody faculty, he served as a pastor of Valley Chapel in Green Valley, Illinois, for nine years. He and his wife, Jane, now enjoy living in a lakeside town in Michigan.

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