Sometimes I like to pray the prayers that are in the Bible. Some of my favorite prayers are the 23rd Psalm, Psalm 51 (when I need to repent of something in my life), the Model Prayer taught by Jesus (Matthew 6:9-13), and the prayers of Paul (Ephesians 1:15-23, Ephesians 3:14-21, Philippians 1:1-11, etc.). One of my favorite prayers is a prayer that was prayed by Paul in Colossians 1:9-12. Here is what Paul prayed for Christians in the first-century city of Colossae.
Paul – “We have continued praying for you . . . We ask God to give you a complete understanding of what He wants to do in your lives, and we ask Him to make you wise with spiritual wisdom. Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and you will continually do good, kind things for others. All the while, you will learn to know God better and better. We also pray that you will be strengthened with His glorious power so that you will have all the patience and endurance you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father, who has enabled you to share the inheritance that belongs to God’s holy people who live in the light.” (Colossians 1:9-12 NLT)
As we study Paul’s prayer, we are reminded that our prayers ought to include intercession – we are to constantly be praying for others. In fact, prayer at its best focuses on the needs of others rather than just praying for our needs. We learn in Colossians 1:9 that we are to pray specifically and continually for others. When we pray specifically for others (“We have continued praying for YOU”) it demonstrates that we really care for them. The Bible teaches that we should pray specifically for those we know, and even for those we don’t personally know (i.e, missionaries, prayer concerns of others, tc.). When we pray specifically for others and their needs, we are focusing our prayers and the power and provision of God upon their lives.
We also are to be praying continually for others (“We have CONTINUED praying for you”). Sometimes we are inclined to pray only once or twice for others. We need to be reminded that “the fervent prayer of righteous men and women avails much” (James 5:16).
In studying this prayer of Paul in Colossians 1, we also discover that our prayers for others ought to include supplication – which means asking specific requests for them. Paul prayed that the Christians in Colossae would know God’s will for their lives (“We ask God to give you a complete understanding of what He wants you to do in your lives”), and that they would access God’s wisdom (“We ask Him to make you wise in spiritual wisdom”). He also prayed that they would appropriate God’s power for their lives (“We pray that you will be strengthened with His glorious power”), and that they would experience God’s joy and thanksgiving in their lives (“May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father, who has enabled you to share the inheritance that belongs to God’s holy people who live in the light”). Paul knew that when these Christians knew God’s will and lived by God’s wisdom, they would live godly and compassionate lives and would come to “know God better” (Colossians 1:10-11). He also knew that when they experienced God’s power in their lives, they would have the patience and strength to overcome adversity and difficulty in life and be all God wanted them to be and do all the Lord wanted them to do. Thirdly, He knew that when they were “filled with joy” they would be grateful to the Lord for all He had done for them and that this joy and gratefulness would strengthen their lives as well.
As you pray in the coming days, let Paul’s prayer for the Christians in Colossae become a model for your prayer time. Assess whether or not you faithfully and fervently pray for others – and then commit to faithfully, specifically and passionately praying for others in the days ahead. Pray the words of Paul’s prayer for the people that the Lord places on your heart (even your Pastor and Church Staff). And pray the words of Paul’s prayer for yourself as well.