When you think of others and pray for them, what do you pray? Here is what Paul and Timothy prayed for their friends at the church in Colossae:
3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 for we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints 5 because of the hope reserved for you in heaven. You have already heard about this hope in the message of truth, the gospel 6 that has come to you. It is bearing fruit and growing all over the world, just as it has among you since the day you heard it and recognized God’s grace in the truth. 7 You learned this from Epaphras, our dearly loved fellow slave. He is a faithful servant of the Messiah on your behalf, 8 and he has told us about your love in the Spirit. (Colossians 1:3-8)
Paul said, “We thank God when we pray for you.” Paul and Timothy were very thankful for their friends in Colossae, their brothers and sisters in Christ. But rather than just saying, “We are thankful for you,” they wrote, “We thank God for you.” Their focus was in the right place, directing their thanks to God. There were specific ways that Paul and Timothy had heard about God working in and through the lives of the Colossian believers, and their prayer was an encouragement to continue to display faith (v4), love (vv4,8), and hope (v5).
Application #1: When you pray, remember to thank God for the people that have impacted your life. You may know them personally, or you may have just heard about their faith, love and hope in Christ. Either way, pray for them and thank God for them when they come to mind.
Application #2: Examine your own life. Can people thank God for your faith in Jesus Christ, your love for all the saints, and for your hope of eternal life in heaven? Ask God to continue to work in your life in these three areas, to strengthen your faith, love and hope.
Paul and Timothy also thank God for the gospel of Jesus Christ. In verses five through seven, there are at least four truths about the good news of Jesus that are mentioned:
- the gospel is a message of truth and grace (vv5,6)
- the gospel was delivered to you through people (vv6,7)
- the gospel is bearing fruit in people’s lives (v6)
- the gospel is growing all over the world (v6)
God used a man named Epaphras to share the good news of Jesus Christ with the Colossians, and teach them all about following Christ. God is still using people today — moms and dads, business men and women, missionaries, students, pastors, coaches, the list goes on — to share the good news of Jesus with people and teach the Bible. This message of truth and grace leads to life change, and the Lord produces His fruit in us:
In addition, the fruit of the gospel is other people coming to faith in Jesus Christ. And this is happening all over the world to this day! We continue to pray that God will save people from every tribe, every language, every people group of the world, starting right here where we live.
Let God use you to be part of His plan. We thank God for you.