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How Do I Pray for Others? – Colossians 1:1-14

Colossians is a letter written by Paul while he was in prison to a group of believers he had never met. If you or I were in prison, we’d probably be praying for ourselves to get out! Instead, we read that Paul, out of thankfulness, was praying for others. The people who have made the greatest impact on your life may not be those who have spoken to you, but those who have spoken to God for you. When you want to make that kind of difference and pray for others, you can pray for the same things Paul prayed for.

In Colossians 1:1-5, Paul starts out acknowledging that the Christians in the Colossian church are his brothers and sisters. Pray for family members, but also for church family members and church leaders. When it comes to church, drift leads to distance, and distance leads to disconnect. Pray people stay connected to the family of God!

In verse 9 Paul prays that they would be “filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.” Remember, Paul is writing to the church. If Paul prays for them to be filled, then you are not yet full! Salvation is not the end; it is the front end. No one has arrived. Sanctification is a process. No one knows it all. We need more than knowledge. Knowledge alone puffs up. Wisdom is the right use of knowledge. We also need spiritual understanding. You cannot separate the will of God from the Word of God. If you want to know God’s will you have to know God’s Word. You can’t separate knowing from doing. Learning always has to do with living. What you believe will determine how you behave. It is not just church, it’s life! Live out your faith and pray that others would live filled as well.

Paul continues by acknowledging that the gospel is bearing fruit and is growing through them. It is God’s will for the church to grow and for you to grow. In Matthew 25, we read the Parable of the Talents. God gave one man five talents, another two, and another one. We do not all have the same talents or abilities. But only those who were fruitful and multiplied what God had given them heard, “Well done good and faithful servant.” The one who did not use the talent God gave him was called “wicked and lazy.” Too many Christians are just content to stay immature. Pray that we would be reproducers. Pray to the Lord of the harvest for workers. We can’t live the Christian life on our own. We need strength from above. Pray that you and others would be fruitful and effective in living out our faith.

In verse 13, Paul says, “He has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son he loves.” We would expect the people who are free to be praying for Paul in jail to be set free. But Paul is in jail praying for those who are not in jail to be set free. Paul is in prison, but his circumstances did not limit what God wanted to do in his life. At the Passover, God brought Israel out of Egypt, but it took 40 years to get Egypt out of them! A lot of God’s children have been saved but they have not been set free from bondage, addictions, and strongholds of the enemy. Pray that God would set people free.

Your past does not have to define your future. Verse 14 reminds us, “In Him we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” No failure, no sin, no mistake, no impossibility, no diagnoses, is too hard for God. God can take anyone out of spiritual darkness into spiritual light. Forgiveness is not based on what you do but on what Jesus did on the cross. All you have to do is put your life in God’s hands. Pray for those you need to forgive. Pray for things you need to be forgiven of. Pray for those who need God’s forgiveness.

All three persons of the Trinity are mentioned in the opening verses of this letter: Father (v. 2,3), Son (v. 1,3,4,7), and Spirit (v. 8). All three are involved in our prayers. We pray to the Father, in the name of the Son, through the power of the Holy Spirit. God hears our prayers and can do more in a moment than we can do in a lifetime. “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (Ja. 5:16).

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