Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart: https://sothrichfield.podbean.com
Colossians 4:2-18 (ESV)
2 Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. 3 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— 4 that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak. 5 Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. 6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.
7 Tychicus will tell you all about my activities. He is a beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. 8 I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are and that he may encourage your hearts, 9 and with him Onesimus, our faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will tell you of everything that has taken place here. 10 Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, and Mark the cousin of Barnabas (concerning whom you have received instructions—if he comes to you, welcome him), 11 and Jesus who is called Justus. These are the only men of the circumcision among my fellow workers for the kingdom of God, and they have been a comfort to me. 12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God. 13 For I bear him witness that he has worked hard for you and for those in Laodicea and in Hierapolis. 14 Luke the beloved physician greets you, as does Demas. 15 Give my greetings to the brothers at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house. 16 And when this letter has been read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you also read the letter from Laodicea. 17 And say to Archippus, “See that you fulfill the ministry that you have received in the Lord.” 18 I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.
Why do you think Paul included all these people in his final greetings?
Holy God, thank You that in Your death and resurrection, You gave us direct access to You through prayer. Prayer is a wonderful gift and is powerful. During this time I pray for endurance, strength, patience, health, financial stability and for Your wisdom and guidance. One of the wonderful things that have come out of this extended isolation is praying for others. For many years, Shepherd of the Hills has been blessed by a prayer team who commit themselves to pray. I thank You for their ministry. They are a small group of people but now the need for prayer is very great. There have been multiple others who have stepped up and are reaching out to help them contact and pray for the elderly, sick, and health care workers during this time of separation. Thank You for the gift of the church community who care for each other. Thank You for the people who have reached out to me, to check on me, and to share Your love. This is not an easy time and knowing people are praying for me fills me with Your peace and comfort. Lord, I pray that more will participate in the ministry of praying for others and join the prayer team after this pandemic is over. I pray that as a congregation that we continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. Through our prayer for others, You build stronger bonds between Your people, make us mindful of each other’s needs, and fill us with Your Spirit. You are a mighty, loving and powerful God and thank you that we have Your ear. Bring us closer together through prayer now and always. Amen