Stephen spoke this morning from Colossians 4:2-6, a sermon partly inspired by a sign at work saying ‘cut back on salt’! These verses talk about our prayer life and how this leads us to make the most of every opportunity, including living lives that are always full of grace and seasoned with salt:
“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. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” (Col 4:2-6)
God wants to communicate with us and spend time with us; Paul urges the Colossians to ‘devote yourselves to prayer’. Prayer covers so much and should not be restricted to any one formula. At school, we are often taught to pray ‘hands together, eyes closed’, but clearly if we are being watchful, we can also pray with our eyes open! Prayer can include set times and places and positions, but is far more than this. We should not restrict how or when or where we pray, but should be eager to develop our prayer life. Thankfulness is also fundamental to prayer, since it is an attitude that dwells on all God has done.
Jesus gave us models for prayer (eg the Lord’s prayer), but ultimately we need to pray not only for ourselves and our own needs but also for others. The guidelines we have been given by our leaders for prayer topics should help us to see new areas we can pray for, but ultimately as we spend time wih God, He will direct us and lead us.
Opportunities for sharing all that God says and does in our lives abound; as the TV programme used to proclaim, ‘opportunity knocks!‘ We need to be aware that opportunities abound each day: as we pray and seek God for guidance, we become more aware of the opportunities He sets before us. Our individual lives can make a great difference and since we are all different, those opportunities will vary for each one of us. As we devote ourselves to prayer, God’s life is formed within us and that acts as saltiness in a society that desperately needs both flavour and preservation. Paul exhorts us to make the most of every opportunity, to grasp every opportunity, to be alert and mindful of all that God is doing. As we do that, His wisdom is given to us and we have the opportunity to share God with all we meet.