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A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

Charitable Christians Talk“Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak. Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. -Colossians 4:2-6, ESV

Those who seek God find themselves regularly and very naturally propelled into mission. At the foot of the cross we discover that we are not alone. If we linger long enough, the entire human race materializes before our eyes. We see many kneeling in reverence, pressing in close around us, with faces refashioned, renewed by tears of joy. Just beyond we can see others in various stages, from shame and pain to mild indifference or curiosity. Further out, we discern the outline of multitude of people, too numerous to count. In the shadow of the cross, conscious of and even covered by the sweat and blood of our Savior, we may also be surprised to find that we cannot turn away.

This is one of the ways that God goes before us in ministry. While “God’s love compels us” to a myriad of activities according to our gifts, geography, or fate, in his letter to the church in Colossae, Paul specifically focuses on the proclamation of the Gospel as the worthy beneficiary of our prayers. His plea in this regard is not reserved only for the professionals, but the apostle seems to assume that they already know that this prayer request applies to us all. “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”

A chef has options. They can prepare a choice selection of meat (replace with tofu for those so inclined!) in any number of ways. A meal may be memorable or not, relished or even ruined. Paul’s tells us to season our conversations, emails, tweets, and writings with salt and speak in a gracious, Christ-like manner. What is he saying? His first-century audience heard something akin to this:

Grace: Speech that conveys good will and loving-kindness; sweetness and even charm. This is the ethical quality of our interactions. The manner in which we speak will reveal the heart underneath our words, and many would argue it is the most persuasive element in our communications.

Salt: Witty and winsome. Here lies the creative and persuasive quality of our interactions. God help us if we ever dumb down or put our friends to sleep with a mind numbing presentation, void of prayerful preparation. 

As we enter this new day, I would encourage us to pray for two things: 1) that we would “see” those around us, whether near or far; and 2) that we would not hesitate to bring Jesus into our conversations. May God go before us, opening doors and filling us with His very presence and His power.

Don Weiss
Ministry Director at Harvard

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