Col 4:1-4 “Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven. Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.”
In the latter portion of the third chapter, Paul has left instruction for the family and for servants. In the beginning of the fourth chapter we find a continuation of his societal instruction concerning that which is right in the sight of God. As we have observed before, even those whom the world considers to be masters (someone in authority) are also servants.
When we find ourselves in a position of authority in this life, there are certain things that God expects of us. He expects us to be Christ-like in our dealings with those who are under our authority. We are expected to deal justly and not show favoritism. If we reward someone for a particular behavior or accomplishment, then everyone else under our authority who meets that standard should be rewarded in an equal manner. Conversely, if we reprimand someone for a wrongdoing then we must meet out a like reprimand to anyone else guilty of the infraction.
The heart of this equity goes back to one simple fact: our God in heaven is Master over all creation. Both His blessings and His chastisement are meted out justly and equitably. This is a part of His holiness and, in this, we can be holy as He is holy (Lev 19:2). While we all understand that we cannot attain unto His holiness in ourselves, our holiness is not so much about what we can do. Our holiness is about who He, as our God, is.
The word translated as “prayer” also means “worship” according to Strong’s. We are to be diligent (continue) in our prayer and worship of God. Prayer is not just about making requests: it is about giving honor and glory. We are to be vigilant (watch) in our prayerful worship. “Watch” as rendered here also means to “stay awake.” We cannot be slothful in prayer and expect to prosper in the things of God. As Proverbs 6:10-11 and 24:33-34 tells us “Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.”
As we vigilantly and diligently pray, we are to do so with thanksgiving. We should offer God thanks, but we should also simply be thankful for the wonderful privilege of prayer. Paul expresses a desire here that I believe all of God’s ministering servants share in. When you pray, remember to pray for those of us who are charged with speaking the mystery of Christ.
When you pray for your ministering servants, pray that God would open a portal whereby the wonders of our Lord and Master might be shared freely and with power. We do not ask an interest in your prayers so that we might become men of renown, but rather for your sakes, that Christ be glorified in you. Paul was, at the time of this writing, literally a prisoner, but the bonds he spoke of were not the chains and fetters of men’s prisons. Paul often described himself as a prisoner or servant of the Lord, Jesus Christ.
Still today, God-called ministers are prisoners, held in bondage to Christ. This is not something we would change! There is no greater gift we can hold in our lives than to know that, when He calls us, we are bound to Him. It is this position of servitude that causes us to diligently seek to know and express the truth as it is in Christ. As called servants of God, we have no desire to simply inform you of what we think. Our heart’s desire is to speak the truth as it is in Christ Jesus, whether from the pulpit, in general conversation, or in writing for others to read.
Prayer is a service that all the saints and faithful brethren in Christ (Col 1:2) can share in. It does not have to be loud, long, or contain flowery speech, but it does need to be done diligently, vigilantly, and fervently with thanksgiving. When we pray, we need to understand that it is God that hears us. Our prayers directly impact the ability of God’s ministering servants to speak the mystery of Christ with boldness (Eph 6:20), as it ought to be done.
May God grant us the humility to bow before our Master with humbleness and joy, rejoicing in our bonds for Jesus’ sake!