"Continue steadfastly in prayer, watching in it with thanksgiving, praying together for us also, that God may open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds, that I may reveal it as I ought to speak"
If I were to ask you to watch in prayer, beginning right now, in this very moment... what should you do?
... pause ...
You would pray as you read. You might ask God to grant revelation as you read and then watch for His revelation as you read. In other words, watching in prayer is to watch prayerfully as you do something. Since you were reading this book at the moment when I asked you to watch in prayer, you would watch prayerfully as you read on.
Now, let's explore a few other ways to watch in prayer.
Watch Prayerfully for Revelation
We should watch in prayer as we read scripture. In other words, as we read scripture we should ask God for revelation and prayerfully listen for His revelation as we read.
Watch Prayerfully for the Prayer to Pray
Another way to watch in prayer is to pray silently as you have a conversation with another person. As you listen to the other person, you watch (listen) for the needs of that person and silently pray for that person as you listen. Suppose that you are talking to a man at work. As you listen (watch) you might silently pray for God to grant healing, revelation, wisdom, obedience or eternal life. Chapter 4 revealed these five prayers and many other prayers which scripture indicates that we should pray.
Watch Prayerfully for the Words to Speak
Another way to watch in prayer is to pray silently for the opportunity to share the gospel as you are engaged in conversation with others. You ask God to give you the words to speak and to open the door to speak His words. Then you watch for Him to open the door and speak His words into the conversation as He provides both the words and the opportunity to speak them.
Here is an example...
A relative of mine was dying. I knew that she was afraid of what was going to happen to her after her death. She had told me of her fear a year earlier. At that time I had shared the gospel of eternal life by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8). I also bought her a modern Bible since she could not understand the Bible she had. Although I had known her for decades and seen her often, I did not know if she was a Christian. Instead of using her real name, I'll call her "Olivia".
As I drove to the hospital, I prayed that God would "open a door for the word" and give me the words of the Gospel (Ephesians 6:18-19). I told my Lord that I would wait for Him to open the door for His word. I would not force the conversation into spiritual things. In this way I was "steadfast in prayer". I was committed to "watching in it".
I talked to my relative in the hospital for about half an hour. She was upbeat and the conversation was not naturally moving to spiritual things. Silently, in my spirit, I said to my Lord, "I guess you are not going to open a door now." In this way I was watching in prayer. But, I had not seen a door open for the word.
A moment later, she suddenly began to cry. She said that she had called her minister and that he had come. The Holy Spirit had moved in her spirit, just as scripture says that He will.
I asked her if she would like for me to read some scripture. She said, "Yes". I read a paragraph from the second chapter of Ephesians, and then asked her if she understood it. She said, "No". Then I read one short passage to her. I read Ephesians 2:8-9: "for by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, that no one would boast".
In this way, I had repeated the words of the Father. Then I asked her if she understood the passage. With a great joy and exuberance she said, "Oh yes. I understand! I understand!" She was full of joy. I knew in my spirit that she belonged to him.
God chooses the time and the way to "open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ". He does this through the Holy Spirit. Our role is to ask God to give us His words to speak. Then we watch for Him to move the other person into conversation that opens the door for the word. That is "watching in prayer". When He opens the door for the word, then we speak the words that God gives us.
I will repeat the passage:
- "2 Continue steadfastly in prayer, watching in it with thanksgiving, 3 praying together for us also, that God may open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds, 4 that I may reveal it as I ought to speak" (Colossians 4:2-4).
We are to continue steadfastly in prayer. Prayer isn't the only thing we do, but it is a part of everything that we do. This is the way of the Sixth Path. In verse 2, Paul asks the Colossian church to "watch in prayer". In verse 3, Paul asks them to pray that God will "open a door for the word". Paul mentions "watching in prayer" in the same breath as the prayer to "open a door for the word" because they go together. Watching is our part. Opening the door is the Holy Spirit's part. We work with the Holy Spirit to "speak forth the mystery of Christ."
In the Sixth Path, we watch in prayer. We are watching in the circumstances of every moment. This is a spiritual endeavor. But we can learn from familiar activities from the secular realm. A hunter watches with quiet cunning in search of prey. An athlete watches for an opportunity to take the offense and score. Both hunter and athlete may watch as part of a team, under a captain.
When we watch in prayer, we are disciples of Christ bearing the yoke of Christ, praying the Endorsed Prayers as we listen to conversations or hear the news. We know our objectives from the Endorsed Prayers. We know our tactics from the Endorsed Prayers. We know when to speak and what to speak by the Endorsed Prayers. God in the Holy Spirit is our captain. Brothers and sisters in Christ who are bearing His yoke are our human team.
We watch in prayer as we have fellowship with God along the Sixth Path. Truths revealed in subchapters 2.2 and 2.3 are practiced as we watch in prayer. As we watch in prayer, we are "bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5). We are speaking "only what is good for building others up as the need may be, that it may give grace to those who hear" (Ephesians 4:29). Our goal is the glory of God: "whatever you do, do all to the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31). Those scriptures were revealed in subchapter 2.2. As we watch in prayer, we are also bearing the yoke of Christ (Chapter 2.3).
Fellowship with God is a two way conversation in the spiritual realm, as we Follow Christ, bearing His yoke in the world.
Taking the yoke of Christ involves praying the scriptures in the Fifth Path, asking God to give us words (Ephesians 6:18, 19), watching in prayer (Colossians 4:2) and praying the Endorsed Prayers (1 Corinthians 11:1). We "Turn, Turn, Turn and Behold the Lord"... we walk in the Sixth Path (2 Corinthians 3:18).
Watch and Pray at All Times
- "Continue steadfastly in prayer, watching in it with..." (Colossians 4:2).
- "In nothing be anxious, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God" (Philippians 4:6).
- "Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks" (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18).
- " let's offer up a sacrifice of praise to God continually" (Hebrews 13:15).
- "they must always pray, and not give up" (Luke 18:1).
- "he continued all night in prayer to God" (Luke 6:12).
- "My house shall be called a house of prayer" (Matthew 21:13).
- Moses prayed forty days and forty nights (Deuteronomy 9:18).
According to these scriptures, prayer is to be in everything, without ceasing, continual, always and continued steadfastly... we watch and pray!