Updated: Feb 14, 2022
There were times when I'd be working or in a meeting when there was an almighty crash and bang from upstairs. Slightly fearing the end of the world was nigh, but more realistically wondering whether a bookcase had fallen on one of the children, I'd rush upstairs into their bedroom to find two angels quietly sitting on their beds reading (as if that wasnt at all suspicious!). "What have you been doing?" I'd ask. "Nothing " they'd reply, all smiles. That word nothing, it means so many things doesn't it? Nothing that I'm willing to admit to. Nothing that I'm going to tell you about. Something, that if I tell, you I'm likely to be in trouble for. Something, that if you know, might make you think less of me. Something that I'm really embarrased to admit so want to keep quiet. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has been at a prayer meeting, or a home group meeting or simply chatting with someone over coffee after a service who has been asked "what can I pray for, for you?" Not about a work situation, or the things that are going on in our family, or some of the wider concerns we might have. For you personally. It's just so tempting to say "nothing really." Yet if we do, what is that saying about how important prayer is, or how vital it is to our daily Christian lives - not just what we ask for, but for what others are praying for us? Paul tells the church in Colossae that he prays constantly, probably daily, for them. He doesn't wait for them to have a crisis, or for things to be challenging. Even when things are going well he prays for them. He teaches us that we need praying for. Yet so often, we only ask for prayer when situations are difficult or complicated. We are comfortable asking for prayer for a family member who is unwell, or for a friend out of work, or for an end to conflict in a war torn country. It is right to pray these things to a sovereign God. Yet surely Paul teaches us that we should also be praying that we are faithful each day. That we are fruitful in our discipleship. That we would walk in a way that points people to Jesus. It's vital that we see how important it is to pray these things for each other, and ask for this from each other too. So we no longer need to say "nothing really" to each other when they ask what they can pray for. Of course it could be that nothing is really what you do want to say, as you might be fearful of admitting to your struggles, not wanting to tell people about them. You might think too, that if you speak of your struggles you'll be in trouble for them, or others might think less of you. You're embarrassed to admit your struggles, so you decide to keep quiet. Yet this should never be the case. If as a church we care and value each other, we need to be praying not just for the world out there, but for each other, daily, in the midst of our daily lives and challenges. This is what Paul was doing for the churches he knew. Let's also be doing it here.