By Linetta Ballew ( Assistant Director, Brethren Woods Camp & Retreat Center (VA))
Colossians 1:1-14 “…we have not stopped praying for you…”
Today we begin to read someone else’s mail. What we call Colossians was originally a letter, sent by Paul who was in prison, to the church in Colossae, a small and insignificant city in the Lycus Valley, about 100 miles from Ephesus. Even though Paul had never been to Colossae to meet with the church there, he begins his letter by telling them that he, and Timothy, “our brother” (vs. 1) and partner in sharing the Good News, have been praying for them and thanking God for them because they “have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven” (vs. 4-5).
Paul and Timothy “have not ceased (stopped) praying for you” (vs. 9) and he outlines specifically what they have been praying for. First, they have been asking that the Colossians would be “filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding” (vs. 9). This knowledge and wisdom and understanding is not an end to itself. Instead, like good soil, they are praying secondly that it will produce “lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him” (vs. 10), as the Colossians continue to bear and grow good fruit among themselves and throughout the whole world. Their third prayer is that they may “be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power” so that they will “be prepared to endure everything with patience” (vs. 11). And finally, Paul and Timothy have been praying that the Colossians will continue to remember the hope of the Good News they have through Jesus Christ and will keep on “joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light” (vs. 12).
Knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. Practical, worthy living. Spiritual strength to endure. Hope and joy. These are the promises made to, and the signs of, those who have been “rescued…from the power of darkness and transferred…into the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (vs. 13-14).
Good News: Even when we feel small and insignificant, because we are part of the family of God, by the grace of God, we are remembered in prayer, rescued, transferred, redeemed, and forgiven.
Discussion Question: Do you know someone who prays for you and thanks God for you? Someone who never stops praying for you? What do you feel like you need most for the coming day or week – knowledge/wisdom/understanding? worthy living? spiritual strength? hope and joy?
Go one step further: If you know someone who never stops praying for you, reach out to them today to say thank you for remembering you. Share with them what you feel you need most right now so they can be praying specifically for that.
Consider who God might be calling you to remember in prayer and give thanks for. Choose a creative prayer reminder (like a photo of that person placed where you’re sure to see it, a post-it note on your mirror or fridge, a task or location that’s part of your daily routine, or an object you’ll carry with you) to prompt you to pray.
Check out some Simple (https://www.24-7prayer.com/simpleprayerideas) and Creative (https://www.24-7prayer.com/creativeprayerideas) Prayer Ideas from 24-7 Prayer, including ideas for Praying on the Move (https://www.24-7prayer.com/onthemove).