Distance Ministry; October 21, 2021

Colossians 1:9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.

Colossians stands out among Paul’s letters as the only one written to people he had never met. He hadn’t been to Rome at the time he wrote that letter, but he at least knew several people there. His disciple Epaphras had gone to Colosse and evangelized very effectively, and this is Paul’s follow-up to that. He felt responsibility for the Colossian believers, not just because they were his spiritual “grandchildren” but because he was concerned for the Church at large, wanting all believers to be genuine and walk in all that Christ had for them. Prayer is the perfect answer to such a situation, because in prayer we are talking to One for whom time and distance have virtually no meaning. At the same time, it’s very encouraging and comforting to know you are being prayed for, and letters are an effective tool for that. Today, with electronic communications, it’s much faster and easier to share such blessings. As a teacher, Paul didn’t hold back in expressing truth even to people he had never met. This letter was a way of being an instrument of God’s answering the very thing he prays in this verse. Any time we pray we need to hold ourselves available for God to use us to answer that for which we are praying. If you pray a lot for world missions, you need to be willing to go as a missionary, whether or not God sends you. If you pray for people’s physical needs to be met, you need to be willing to share what God has given you materially. James was rather direct about that last point! (James 2:15-16) (Actually, James was direct about a number of things, which is why his letter is so valuable.) That said, often we don’t have the resources in ourselves to meet the needs for which we pray, but we are praying to the Creator of the universe, and He is never short of resources!

I feel this is very applicable to me. Not only have I discovered how much difference it makes for people to be praying for me, (as I have written before) with my blog I am touching many people I have never met. Some of them are already strong believers, some are struggling, and some are simply seeking or even just curious, never having enthroned Jesus in their heart. I am to communicate God’s truth in love to them all, trusting the Holy Spirit to sort it all out and plant it in their hearts, just as Paul did with the Colossians. In doing that, however, I must never forget to pray for them, or for the people in the various groups to which I am invited to speak. As again James said, “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16) There is little if anything I can do in my own strength and wisdom, either at a distance or in person, but God is big enough to use me in any circumstances, and I need to be willing and available.

Father, thank You for this Word of encouragement. Help me follow through! I do thank You for the various methods of communication that are available. May I use them effectively by Your Spirit, accomplishing Your will for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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