What do you pray for?
That question may seem rather broad or abstract, but one of the things that I have found is that I tend to pray about those things I care about. When my heart is engaged my prayers are more than just petitions, they are conversations with God expressing my desires, hopes, fears, anxieties and longings – either for myself or for others.
In Colossians chapter one we have the chance to read Paul’s prayer for the believers at Colossae. Many scholars believe that Paul had never visited Colossae, but it did not prevent him from expressing his gratitude for them and greeting them as members of the family of Christ.
Paul thanks God for the fruitfulness that the gospel has had in the lives of the church, and even though his communications with them may be brief and scattered, he has not ceased to pray for them.
He takes this opportunity to thank God for the unity of their story. Their stories are different, but their is the commonality of the transforming power of the gospel in their lives. He uses expressions and analogies such as moving from darkness to light and transferring from the dominion of darkness to the kingdom of Christ.
In verse fifteen he takes the opportunity to develop their understanding of the work and preeminence of Christ.
In a culture that challenged their identity, Paul is writing to them to remind them that their foundation is in Christ and his work on the cross.
Paul, like an older brother is explaining to his younger siblings that the central figure in the lives of believers is Christ. In Him the fullness of God dwells. In Him, those that were once far off have been brought near.
He then urges them to live accordingly. They have gotten off to a great start, but must not forget that Christ is the focal point, not our accomplishments. Paul lovingly encourages them, yet also exhorts them to be mindful that things can be difficult.
In verse 24 he takes the opportunity to share the reality of life. That he has suffered and made sacrifices to follow God’s call. Yet he goes on to say how any sacrifice was worth it to proclaim the riches of Christ. Paul shares and lives out his calling to help those that believe in Christ to develop into maturity, and this is why he labors and makes the effort to share with them, although he had never met them.
Through Paul’s prayer and letter we see the heart of Christ and the community found in the body of Christ. Never ceasing to pray for those he has never met and writing to help them to develop into maturity are just the initial pieces of this letter.
May we pray as Paul did both for those that we have met, and then those that we only have heard about. May God mature us as believers in Him and help us to cultivate life and maturity in the lives of those around us.
Grace & Peace,
What do you pray for?