In our study of Colossians chapter four, we see how the ministering of the gospel is a team effort. That team includes prayer warriors as well as a variety of people using their gifts and talents to serve. Paul closes this letter with a list of some of the team members and we will learn a little about them.
"Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven." NIV translation
In many manuscripts, this verse is included in chapter 3 as it relates to the earthly conduct of leaders. Paul reminds them (and us) that supervisors and leaders are going to give an account of their actions as we serve the Master.
"Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful." NIV translation
Now, Paul gives a few last instructions about how we should operate while we are here and, as we see, it always comes back to prayer.
We are called to pray constantly because that is how we get our instructions on our actions.
He goes on to say that we are to be "watchful" and many have taken this to mean that we should lift up prayers and kick back to wait but this is actually a word of action like the setting of a guard. Many use prayer as a mask to hide laziness but that is not what Paul is saying here. Let us pray but let us also act on the Word that we have already been given.
"And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains." NIV translation
Paul tells the Colossian believers to pray for those locally but asks that they also remember him in their prayers. We see from this that he understood that it was only through a work of God preparing a way that he could share the gospel. The same is true for us today in that we can only go through the doors that God opens for us. When we try to open them on our own, we usually end up kicking open a door that God hasn't prepared us to enter. Usually, when you kick open a door, those inside are not going to welcome you and so the ministry will be unsuccessful.