“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.” Colossians 4:3-4

Intriguing. Paul says, ‘Pray for me, pray for us — not that we’ll get out of here, but that the Word will go forth from here.’ I think if I were Paul, I would have said, ‘Please pray for me that I’ll get outta here. I’m tired of being in prison.’ Not so Paul. He says, ‘My desire is that God’s Word will go forth from here, that those around me will really see that Christ lives in me.’ Truly, this is the way to pray.

A few months ago, I saw a billboard which said: Pray … it works. And I thought, ‘True — but what if it doesn’t work?’ Most of the time we pray small prayers like, ‘Get me outta here’. And when they don’t work, we stop praying instead of learning what prayer really is. Prayer is not to get God to see things my way, but rather to get me to see things His way.

This Associated Press story caught my eye::   walking into her house to answer the phone, Cindy Hartman of Conway, Arkansas, was confronted by a burglar who, after ripping the phone out of the wall, ordered her into the closet. Hartman dropped to her knees and asked the burglar if she could pray for him. ‘I want you to know that God loves you and I forgive you,’ she said. The burglar looked at her and apologized for what he had done. Then he yelled out the door to a woman in a pickup truck, ‘We gotta unload all this. She’s a Christian lady. We can’t do this to her!’ Hartman remained on her knees, and the burglar returned the furniture he had already taken from her home. Then he took the bullets out of his gun, handed her the gun, and walked out the door.

Fascinating story. You see, Cindy Hartman could have prayed, ‘Get me out of here,’ but instead she prayed like Paul. ‘Could I pray for you?’ she asked the burglar. That’s in harmony with the heart of God. How do I know? Because of what Jesus said on the Cross. He didn’t say, ‘Get me out of here,’ He said, ‘Father, forgive them. They don’t understand what’s going on,’ (Luke 23:34).

How I want to be more like Paul. I’ve got so much to learn in this arena — but I see the principle and the rightness of what Paul is modelling here as he prays not to get out of prison, but that he’ll have boldness and wisdom in any situation.

This Daily Devotional is an excerpt from the book “A Days Journey” by Pastor Jon. “A Days Journey” is a collection of 365 short devotions from the New Testament. www.joncourson.com