Summary: 1) The Speech of Prayer(Colossians 4:2), 2) The Speech of Proclamation (Colossians 4:3–4) , 3) The Speech of Performance (Colossians 4:5), and 4) The Speech of Perfection (Colossians 4:6).
In an ancient story, it is said that Bios, a wise man of ancient Greece, was sent an animal to sacrifice. He was instructed to send back to the donor the best and worst parts of the animal. He sent the donor the tongue. The tongue is indeed the best and worst of humanity.
In Colossians 4:2–6 the Apostle Paul continues the discussion of the new person in Christ that he began in 3:5. In 3:5–17 he discussed the personal characteristics of the new person. In 3:18–4:1, he discussed the home life of the new person. In this passage he broadens the scope of his discussion to include unbelievers (cf. 4:5). He focuses especially on the speech of the new person, because that is something the watching world will look at carefully when it evaluates Christianity. Next to the thoughts, attitudes, and motives, it is also the most difficult area for believers to control.
If we look at our strained or broken relationships, they most likely occurred due to something regrettable that was said. Like a glass that is shattered once released, when words come out of our mouths, we can't take them back. Although we may apologize, and seek to repair damaged or strained relationship, some speech is so damaging, that relationships are broken. What pain we would save if we could just restrain our tongue. What if it became a transformational instrument of healing and life?
That is exactly what Paul shows here as the way to both control the tongue and use it for the most good. In his discussion of the speech of the new person in Christ; Paul puts the emphasis on four areas: 1) The Speech of Prayer(Colossians 4:2), 2) The Speech of Proclamation (Colossians 4:3–4) , 3) The Speech of Performance (Colossians 4:5), and 4) The Speech of Perfection (Colossians 4:6).
1) The Speech of Prayer (Colossians 4:2)
Colossians 4:2 Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. (ESV)
It is fitting that Paul begins with prayer, because it is the most important speech one can utter. Prayer is the strength of the believer’s fellowship with the Lord and the source of power against Satan and his angels (cf. Eph. 6:18). Through prayer, believers confess their sin, offer praise to God, call on their sympathetic High Priest (Heb. 4:15–16), and intercede for each other. Prayer from a pure heart (Ps. 66:18) is to be directed to God (Matt. 6:9), consistent with the mind and will of the Holy Spirit (Eph. 6:18), in the name of Christ, and for the glory of the Father (John 14:13).
In 4:2, Paul touches on an often overlooked aspect of prayer, that of perseverance. Continue Steadfastly/Devote yourselves means to “adhere to,” or “persist in,” came to be used of a boat that always stands ready for someone (Mark 3:9), or an activity that one was devoted to or busily engaged in. It was in this latter sense that it came to be employed to denote continuance in prayer (Acts 1:14; Rom 12:12; Col 4:2; cf. Acts 2:42, 46) and the ministry of the Word (Acts 6:4; on the term and its cognate προσκαρτέρησις, “perseverance,” “patience,” (O’Brien, P. T. (1998). Colossians, Philemon (Vol. 44, p. 237). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.)
Please turn to Luke 18
Praying at all times is not necessarily limited to constant vocalizing of prayers to God. Rather, it refers to a God consciousness that relates every experience in life to Him. That does not, however, preclude the need for persistence and earnestness in prayer. Such persistence is illustrated repeatedly in Scripture. The 120 disciples gathered in the Upper Room “were continually devoting themselves to prayer” (Acts 1:14). The early church followed their example (cf. Acts 2:42). This is a PRESENT ACTIVE IMPERATIVE, “continue to devote yourselves to prayer.” Prayer is not optional. Prayer is crucial for effective Christian living and ministry (cf. Eph. 6:18–19; Rom. 12:2; Phil. 4:6; 1 Thess. 5:17). If Jesus’, being God’s incarnate, life was characterized by both public and private prayer, how much more do believers need to pray for the gospel, for themselves, and for one another (Utley, R. J. (1997). Paul Bound, the Gospel Unbound: Letters from Prison (Colossians, Ephesians and Philemon, then later, Philippians) (Vol. Volume 8, p. 50). Marshall, TX: Bible Lessons International.).
Our Lord told parables illustrating the importance of persistent prayer:
Luke 18:1-8 [18:1]And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, "In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, 'Give me justice against my adversary.' For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, 'Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.'" And the Lord said, "Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?" (ESV) (Cf. Luke 11:5-10)