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Praying with Paul, Part II

Colossians  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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In Colossians 1:3-14, the apostle Paul gives two keys to praying for the family of God faithfully: thanksgiving and interceding.

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Introduction

Before we get back to Colossians, we’re going to start off in a passage from . Titus was another one of Paul’s pastoral proteges in the ministry field. Just like Timothy, Titus tended to be in need of some. This passage comes right on the heels of Paul’s battle charge to Titus in verse 1: “Speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine.” Look at , verses 11-12 with me.
Ephesians 4:14–19 NASB95
As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.
Ephesians 3:14–19 NASB95
14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.
Titus 2:11–12 NASB95
11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age,
Ephesians 4:14-2
Ephesians 3:
Why does Paul pray for the church at Ephesus here? Verse 17: “so that Christ may dwell in their hearts through faith”. How is that accomplished? Look back at verse 16: “by being strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man.” So, we see that in the life of a true Christian, Christ resides in our hearts through faith by the power of His Spirit.
What does it look like to have Christ dwelling in our hearts? Verse 18: “Comprehension of the expanse of heavenly things”, and verse 19: “To know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge.” So, we see that in the life of a true Christian, Christ resides in our hearts through faith by the power of His Spirit in spiritual-mindedness and sacrificial love.
Paul bowed His knees before the Father because of this reality. The question is, do we do the same?
Our natural tendency is to think that our prayers for people should only be about their salvation. If they’re already saved, then they’re good, right!? That’s like running up the score in a basketball game when you’re already up by 40. The game’s over! At least that’s how we tend to think.
This tendency in our hearts reveals a problem that is systemic not just in you and I, but in Christians around the world today. The problem is this: We don’t have a clue how God’s grace really works.
Here’s a litmus test: How many of us in this room know the way God’s grace works…? (Pose to study)
Titus was another one of Paul’s pastoral proteges in the ministry field. Just like Timothy, Titus tended to be in need of some. This passage comes right on the heels of Paul’s charge to Titus in verse 1: “Speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine.”
These two verses are two of the most important verses in the New Testament. Arguably, this might be the best summary of the Christian life in all of Scripture.
All of Scripture is also clear that God’s grace drives the Christian life. Look at again: “the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men.” God’s grace saves sinners, and salvation is a miracle! And, as we’ve seen in Colossians, this miracle in actin is what drove the apostle Paul to his knees in prayer. In order to be an effective Christian soldier, our prayer lives must be consistent, persistent, others-centered, and divinely enabled.
Popular guys in the church today have a lot of thoughts on how God’s grace is supposed to work, and most of those thoughts are lacking. The common maxim is that God’s grace saves sinners, and that God’s grace reminds sinners of that saving work for the duration of their Christian lives. While that’s partially true, it’s not sufficient. The reality is that God’s grace saves sinners and trains sinners in His righteousness progressively. So, we can conclude that in order to be an effective Christian soldier, our
Self-absorption and self-reliance in the heart will cripple your prayer life. We can usually rely on the writings of Paul to help us renew our minds in these areas, and this case is no different.
But notice what else God’s grace does in sinners. It doesn’t just save. It sanctifies. Look at verse 12: “instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age.” This is huge. God’s grace saves sinners, and makes them holy over time. And, as we’re going to see in Colossians tonight, this ongoing miracle is what fueled the apostle Paul in prayer. In order to be an effective Christian soldier, our prayer lives must be consistent, persistent, others-centered, divinely-enabled, and divinely growing.
But do we live up to that standard? Too often, our prayer lives are often inconsistent, lack persistence, self-centered, self-enabled, and self-reliant. Sadly, pride is the enemy of prayer. Pride is what drove Adam to sin against God in the garden. Pride is what kept the Pharisees from believing in Jesus. Pride is truly the enemy of prayer. So the central question is this: how do we pray for others when our hearts are wired not to?
Paul’s prescription for our affliction in prayer was a simple one, but a profound one. In , Paul provides two keys to praying faithfully for the family of God: thanksgiving and interceding.
Last time, in verses 3-8, we looked at the first key to faithful prayer for God’s family, which was thanksgiving. We saw that Paul gave thanks to God for three main motivators: divine faith, divine love, and divine hope. Tonight, in verses 9-14, we’re going to dive into the second key to faithful prayer for God’s family, which is intercession… intercession.
His prescription for our affliction in prayer was a simple one, but a profound one. In , Paul provides two keys to praying faithfully for the family of God: thanksgiving and interceding.
His prescription for our affliction in prayer was a simple one, but a profound one. In
Last time, we looked at the first key to faithful prayer for God’s family, which was thanksgiving. We saw that Paul gave thanks to God for three main motivators: divine faith, divine love, and divine hope. Tonight, we’re going to dive into the second key to faithful prayer for God’s family, which is intercession… intercession.
, Paul provides two keys to praying faithfully for the family of God: thanksgiving and interceding.

WHO / WHEN / WHERE

Before we dive into verses 9-14, let’s recap where we’ve been so far.
We know Paul and Timothy are in Rome, somewhere between 60-62 AD when Paul wrote this letter. Since Paul was on house arrest, he sent Tychicus and Onesimus to make the 1300 mile journey so that the Colossians could receive the letter.

WHAT / WHY

We also know that the Colossians had never even met Paul. A few weeks back, we looked at how Paul overcame that hurdle in his greeting from verses 1-2.
After greeting the Colossians, Paul wanted to let the Colossians know of his prayers and thanksgiving to God for them, which takes us to our passage in verses 3-14. The goal of sharing this information was to encourage the believers in Colossae because of the good reports he received about them from Epaphras, and also to provide an example of what faithfulness in prayer looks like.

HOW

WHY

WHEN

Paul’s prayers for the Colossians attest to his conviction that God’s grace both saves AND trains. As the ideal prayer warrior, the example he leaves for us here in the Scriptures is one that every believer should aspire to.
Last time, in verses 3-8, we looked at the first key to faithful prayer for God’s family, which was thanksgiving. We saw that Paul gave thanks to God for three main motivators: divine faith, divine love, and divine hope. Tonight, in verses 9-14, we’re going to dive into the second key to faithful prayer for God’s family, which is intercession… intercession.

Intercession / αἰτούμενοι ()

INTERPRETATION
translated as “to ask”
Look at verse 9 with me.
Colossians 1:9 NASB95
9 For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,
What exactly is intercession anyway? Intercession is simply the “action of praying on behalf of another person or other people.” This sums up what Paul is doing for the Colossians in this passage.
For this reason also” is in reference to verse 8: Epaphras had told Paul all about the Colossians’ love in the Spirit. In response, “since the day [they] heard of it,” Paul and his cohorts have not stopped praying for the Colossians! At this point, it could have been weeks or months since Paul got that first report from Epaphras. This just emphasizes the power Paul believed to be in prayer.
Next, Paul goes on to say that he has not ceased asking on their behalf either. “Ask” here can be understood as to make a request or to demand something from somebody.
In this context, Paul is telling the Colossians that in his prayers, he makes continual requests to God on their behalf!
Matthew 7:7–11 NASB95
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. “For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. “Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? “Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!
Matthew 11:24 NASB95
“Nevertheless I say to you that it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you.”
John 14:14 NASB95
“If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.
John 15:7 NASB95
“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
Matt. 11:24John 14:14John 15:7James 1:5
James 1:5 NASB95
But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
EXPLANATION
With this, the Colossians would’ve had to feel encouraged when they read these words. The apostle Paul himself not only thanked God continually for their salvation, but he was also asking God to keep growing them in the faith as well! That is what true love for the body of Christ looks like.
When Paul wrote this letter, he had the false teachers that were in Colossae fresh on his mind. So, his goal is twofold: he wants to encourage his dear brethren in Christ, but he also wants to protect them from falling victim to the false teachers.
So, how does he accomplish that aim? By letting them know what exactly he asks God for on their behalf.

That you may be filled / πληρωθῆτε ()

What does Paul ask God on their behalf? Look down at the rest of verse 9: “that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding...”
Paul is simply asking this: for the Colossians to be filled with the knowledge of the Holy.
INTERPRETATION
“Filled” here can be understood as to be or become generously supplied with something.
can be understood as to be or become generously supplied with something.
can be understood as to be or become generously supplied with something.In this context, Paul is asking God to generously supply the knowledge of His will to the ColossiansEph. 3:19Phil. 1:111
In this context, Paul is asking God to generously supply the knowledge of His will to the Colossians.
Ephesians 3:19 NASB95
and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.
Philippians 1:11 NASB95
having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
Eph. 3:19Phil. 1:111
1 John 1:4 NASB95
These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.
Now look at again: Paul is asking God to generously supply them with what? The “knowledge of His will.”
At first glance, we might think, “okay Paul, that sounds a little vague.” If you had that thought, take comfort in knowing this: you’re wrong. Keep reading. “in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.” Gotcha. Now we’re getting somewhere.
The best way to understand God’s “will” is to define “will” the same way you normally would. Not “will” in the sense of a paper that says which of my kids will get the most money when I die, but “will” in the sense of an attitude of mind, or an inclination that favors one alternative over others.
John 1:12–13 NASB95
12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
John 1:13 NASB95
13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
Matthew 18:14 NASB95
14 “So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish.
John 6:39 NASB95
39 “This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.
The difference between God’s will and our will is that if God wills something, it will happen. If we will something, it might happen if God happens to will it to happen.
And, in the last portion of verse 9, the truth Paul is teaching unfolds right before us: “in the realm of all spiritual wisdom and understanding.”
So, we can sum it up as this: Paul is asking God to fill the Colossians with the knowledge of His attitude of mind in the realm of applying spiritual truths and comprehension of those spiritual truths.
EXPLANATION
I know. That was a mouthful. But there’s a mouthful of truth that we don’t wanna miss here, so bear with me.
Paul could’ve said all that he needed to say in one sentence, rather than spending verses 9-14 developing this thought. But he didn’t. Why? Because he wanted to reinforce some key truths in the minds of the Colossians, and by extension, in us as well.
You see, if Paul’s prayer life here seems a bit intense for us, then that’s just a reflection on how weak our own prayer lives are. Paul’s language here is implying that these prayer habits are the norm, not the exception. And logically, it only makes sense! What’s the only response to a God that works miracles in His people? Thank Him for doing it and pray that He keeps doing it!
God wouldn’t be God if he couldn’t complete the work He started in us. God’s grace is sufficient to not just save us, but to increasingly make us more like Him along the way. But that’s not something to presume upon. It’s grace for a reason! Remember :
Philippians 2:13 NASB95
13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

To walk in a manner worthy / περιπατῆσαι ()

So we’ve looked at the first key to faithful prayer for God’s family, which was thanksgiving. We saw that Paul gave thanks to God for three main motivators: divine faith, divine love, and divine hope. The second key was intercession. That intercession consisted of asking God to fill the Colossians with the knowledge of His will. But for what purpose?
Look now at verse 10: “so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord.”
INTERPRETATION
Think of this phrase here as to live or behave in a specified manner.
In this context, Paul is saying that he prays to God in intercession for the Colossians so that they can live in a manner worthy of the Lord’s name.
Ephesians 4:1 NASB95
Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,
Philippians 1:27 NASB95
Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
:1Phil. 1:271 Thess. 2:12
1 Thessalonians 2:12 NASB95
so that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.
Why walk in a worthy manner? For the ultimate goal in life. Notice the next phrase of verse 10: “to be fully pleasing in all respects.”
What’s the chief goal in life?
2 Corinthians 5:9 NASB95
9 Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.
. How do we glorify God? . "Walk in a manner worthy of the Lord.” It goes both ways.
EXPLANATION
The best defense against false teaching is a reinforcement of the truth, and Paul is following this maxim here. The false teacher that was beginning to deceive the Colossians was claiming that he had a new way to please the Lord. But hear Paul saying here: “Not so fast buddy… There’s only one way to please to Lord. And that’s by living a life that’s worthy of Him.”
This is why we pray for other believers, and why we hope other believers pray for us too. We all need to walk in a manner worthy of Him! The problem is that we don’t have the ability to. That’s why God has to fill us “with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.” And that’s why we have to ask for it. And asking isn’t a burden, but a privilege! Remember :

The Worthy Walk is Fully Pleasing ()

Matthew 7:11 NASB95
11 “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!
So, the first key to faithfully praying for God’s family was thanksgiving. We saw three motivators to give thanks for: divine faith, divine love, and divine hope. We’ve also looked at the second key - intercession. We’ve seen that we ask God to fill believers with the knowledge of His will, so that they can walk in a manner worthy of Him. Now, in the remainder of verses 10-14, Paul closes his thoughts by giving 4 realities about the walk worthy of the Lord.
In this context, Paul uses this word to describe what the result of walking in a manner worthy of the Lord is.
Proverbs 31:30 NASB95
Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
(charm)

The Worthy Walk is Fruit-Bearing ()

The first reality is that the worthy walk is fruit-bearing… fruit-bearing.
INTERPRETATION
Look at what’s next in verse 10: “bearing fruit in every good work...”
Can be understood as to produce actions and natural consequences according to their kind.
In this context, Paul is saying that he prays for the Colossians to bear fruit in the realm of good deeds.
Luke 8:15 NASB95
“But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.
:15Rom. 7:4-5
Romans 7:4–5 NASB95
Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death.
EXPLANATION
If we believed that good works affects our salvation, then we’d be Catholics. But, while good works don’t affect our salvation, they do confirm it.
James 2:26 NASB95
26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.
The false teacher in Colossae was saying that your religious works somehow help your salvation. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Divine faith will always produce good works, plain and simple.
A conviction is not a conviction if it doesn’t lead to action. I’ll say it again: A conviction is not a conviction if it does not lead to action. If you profess that Christ is Lord, then your actions should prove that profession. Simply put, if you talk it, then walk it.
If this truth is neglected in our lives, then we really need to take inventory and ask ourselves why.
If a politician claimed to love cows but passed laws to kick every cow out of the country, we’d probably doubt his profession, wouldn’t we? Don’t think for a second that people don’t look at our professions of faith the same way. Does the walk of your life match up to the words on your lips? According to Jesus in , there’s no such thing as being fruitless. You either bear good fruit or bad fruit. What’s the quality of the fruit in your life?

The Worthy Walk is Increasing ()

The first reality was that the worthy walk is fruit-bearing. The second reality is that the worthy walk is increasing… the worthy walk is increasing.
Let’s keep working our way down verse 10 - “increasing in the knowledge of God...”
INTERPRETATION
Think of “increasing” as to become larger, greater, or bigger.
In this context, Paul is saying that he prays for the Colossians to grow greater in their knowledge of God.
Ephesians 4:15 NASB95
but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,
Eph. 4:151 Pet. 2:2
1 Peter 2:2 NASB95
like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation,
EXPLANATION
This word for “knowledge” here is different from the word used back in verse 9. This “knowledge” is a personal acquaintance with or recognition of the truth of God. Where is the truth of God found?
John 17:17 NASB95
17 “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.
So, Paul is praying that the Colossians would grow greater in their knowledge of the Word!
Everything we learn about God, we learn from His Word. There is no other place He has revealed Himself. He’s not going to audibly talk to us. He’s not going to appear to us in visions. We have His complete written revelation of Himself to learn all that we need to know about Him this side of glory.
Remember that all of these realities are divinely enabled. So we must remember to not presume upon any of the Lord’s graces, including His grace in giving us understanding when we read His Word!
Here’s a good litmus test: Do you even think to pray before reading His Word? If not, then why don’t you?

The Worthy Walk is Being Strengthened ()

The first two realities of the worthy walk were that the worthy walk is fruit-bearing and increasing. The third reality is that the worthy walk is being strengthened… being strengthened.
INTERPRETATION
Look at verse 11: “strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience...”
Think of “strengthened” as to be enabled for carrying out a task. Here, it is a divine enabling for a specific task by God.
In this context, Paul is praying for the Colossians to be divinely enabled with God’s power to attain patient endurance.
In this context, Paul is praying for the Colossians to be divinely enabled with God’s power to attain steadfastness and patience.
“Steadfastness and patience” are closely linked here. Paul uses the “and” there to show that the two ideas are not separate from each other. To sum up the idea, Paul is praying for the Colossians to gain patient fortitude under trials by the mighty power of God.
Hebrews 11:34 NASB95
quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.
James 5:10–11 NASB95
10 As an example, brethren, of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful.
EXPLANATION
This point is convicting for us to think about, isn’t it? Don’t feel bad, the Colossians would’ve felt the same way.
Abraham waited 25 years for God to bring him a son. Noah preached for 120 years before the flood came. Jeremiah preached for 42 years with no converts. We throw a fit if our phone is dead for 40 minutes. Yikes.
A missionary from the late 1800s, C.T. Studd, has a book called “The Chocolate Soldier”, and in it he talks about the “Chocolate Christian” - the Christian who melts when the heat of trials, tribulations, and persecutions come their way, proving their lack of patient endurance.
So here’s the question: Are we “Chocolate Christians”? There’s no reason we should be. God’s mighty power is what fuels us, not human power. Paul makes patient endurance a non-negotiable in the life that is pleasing to God. Is it a non-negotiable to you?

The Worthy Walk is Joyous in Thanksgiving ()

The first three realities of the worthy walk were that the worthy walk is fruit-bearing, increasing, and being strengthened. The final reality Paul gives is that the worthy walk is joyous in thanksgiving… joyous in thanksgiving.
INTERPRETATION

Can be understood as the act of giving, returning, or expressing thankfulness.

Look at verses 11-12 with me: “joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.”
Can be understood as the act of giving, returning, or expressing thankfulness.
Thanksgiving is what believers should continually express to God because of what He has done in them. But what is it about the Father that should drive us to joyfully give thanks to Him? He has “qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.”
John 11:41 NASB95
So they removed the stone. Then Jesus raised His eyes, and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.
See, God has made the Christian sufficient, or adequate, for the inheritance of God’s family. What does “in light” refer to? Light is the sphere dominated by righteousness, goodness, and the knowledge of God. So in His perfect wisdom, and benevolent mercy, He has made us sufficient for the inheritance of His family in the realm of all that He is and all that He dwells in.
Romans 1:8 NASB95
First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world.
:41Rom. 1:81 Thess. 5:18
But there’s more to the Father than this, so much more. What else about the Father should drive us to joyfully give thanks to Him? Verses 13-14.
Colossians 1:13–14 NASB95
13 For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Colossians 1:12–13 NASB95
12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. 13 For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,
1 Thessalonians 5:18 NASB95
in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
This takes us all the way back to where we started in . This is what His grace does. This is what His grace has done.
EXPLANATION
1 Thess. 5:18
This takes us all the way back to where we started in . This is what His grace does. This is what His grace has done. And this is what His grace will continue to do until He returns.
Our sin problem is DEFCON 1 serious. One sin puts us completely at odds with God. In the words of R.C. Sproul, a former pastor, “One sin is cosmic treason against God.” What’s the punishment for treason? Death.
So apart from God, every single one of us are sitting on spiritual Death Row, waiting for our turn to face the eternal electric chair. We’re on maximum lock-down, and there is no hope of getting out.
But then God, rich in mercy, abounding in lovingkindness, sent forth His beloved Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the price for our cosmic treason against God. And He accomplished it. Look at verse 14: “in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” God has made a way to eternal life. And that Way is Christ. There is no other Way but the Way that God has made. And that Way is Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Conclusion

It’s time to wrap things up. We’ve looked at the two keys Paul provided to faithfully praying for God’s family: thanksgiving to God and interceding to God. Thanksgiving was driven by three motivations: divine faith, divine love, and divine hope. Interceding was driven by one action: asking for the knowledge of God’s will, and one motivation: to walk in a manner worthy of God. Lastly, we saw that the worthy walk had four distinctive features: the worthy walk was fruit-bearing, increasing, being strengthened, and joyous in thanksgiving.
So, in light of the passage as a whole, there are a few implications for us to meditate on before we close.

HOLINESS IS THE PROOF OF SALVATION.

When you look at what drove Paul to pray for the Colossians, this just leaps off the pages of the text. How did he know their conversions were real? Because of the testimony of Epaphras, who saw their “love in the Spirit”, which we looked at in verse 8.
So do you lack assurance of your salvation? Lack clarity on where you stand with the Lord? Then go evaluate the fruit in your life. talks about the fruit of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit. Which category do you fall in? Holiness is truly the proof of salvation.

PRAYER REFLECTS PRIORITIES.

What is it that keeps you from prayer? The apostle Paul labored in prayer for dozens of churches while he was on house arrest in Rome. What’s our excuse?
Proud hearts don’t pray. And that’s because pride refuses to accept that help is needed. But we all need help. We need divine help. And Christians have that help in our Heavenly Father.
Prayer always reflects our priorities. In that realm, here are a few diagnostics to run on our own priorities:
Are you kingdom-minded? Then pray for believers in the mission field.
Taking stock of this,
Are you others-centered? Then pray for the brothers and sisters in Christ around you.
Are you grateful? Then thank God continually for the work He has done in you and in believers around the world.
Are you living a life that’s honoring to God? Then pray that God would give that strength to the rest of your spiritual family too.
Thank God continually for what He has done, and ask Him to continue the work He has already begun. He is faithful! And that’s the most comforting promise of all.
Pray with me.
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