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  • Writer's pictureRICHARD DEAN BROOKS

Thanksgiving and Prayer,How to Pray for Other Christians


3We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you,4because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people 5the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel 6that has come to you. In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace.

7You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, a who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf, 8and who also told us of your love in the Spirit.

9For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, 10so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.

13For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

1: 4-5   Throughout this letter Paul combats a heresy similar to Gnosticism (see the first note on 1: 9-14 and the notes on 1: 15-23 and 2: 4-23). Gnostics believed that it took special knowledge to be accepted by God; for them, even for those who claimed to be Christians, Christ alone was not the way of salvation (1: 20). In his introductory comments, therefore, Paul commends the Colossians for their faith, love, and hope as they looked forward to heaven (see 1   Corinthians 13: 13). He deliberately omits the word knowledge because of the “special knowledge” aspect of the prevailing heresy. It is not what we know that brings salvation but whom we know. Knowing Christ is knowing God.

1: 5   When Paul speaks of hope, he means more than having an optimistic attitude about the future. He is referring to the confident trust in the reality of heaven. We can hope in what God has for us in heaven because we know that our future destination and salvation are sure (1   Peter 1: 3-4). We are free to live for Christ and love others. When you find yourself doubting or wavering in your faith or love, remember your destination— heaven.

1: 6   Wherever Paul went, he preached the gospel— to Gentile audiences, to hostile Jewish leaders, and even to his Roman guards. Whenever people believed in the message that Paul spoke, they were changed. God’s Word is not just for our information; it is for our transformation! Becoming a Christian means beginning a whole new relationship with God, not just turning over a new leaf or determining to do right. New believers have a changed purpose, direction, attitude, and behavior. They no longer seek to serve themselves, but they bear fruit for God. What new fruit have you seen in your life lately?

1: 8   Because of their love for one another, Christians can have an impact that goes far beyond their neighborhoods and communities. Christian love comes from the Holy Spirit (see Galatians 5: 22). The Bible speaks of it as an action and attitude, not just an emotion. Love for others flows from our hearts as a by-product of our new lives in Christ (see Romans 5: 5; 1   Corinthians   13). Christians have no excuse for not loving, because Christian love is a decision to act in the best interests of others. Is love for others lacking in your life? Ask the Holy Spirit to take away your cold heart and give you a new, loving one.

Gnostics valued the accumulation of knowledge, but Paul points out that knowledge in itself leads to a dead end. To be worth anything, it must lead to a changed life and godly living. His prayer for the Colossians has two dimensions: (1)   that they might be filled with the knowledge of God’s will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding and (2)   that they would bear fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God. Knowledge is not merely to be accumulated; it should give us direction for living. Paul wanted the Colossians to be wise, but he also wanted them to use their knowledge. God does not keep himself hidden so that only a few can discover him; he makes himself available to everyone. Use what you learn about him to bring light to the dark places in your world.

1: 9-14   Sometimes we wonder how to pray for missionaries and other leaders we have never met. Paul had never met the Colossians, but he faithfully prayed for them. His prayers teach us how to pray for others, whether we know them or not. We can request that they (1)   understand God’s will, (2)   gain spiritual wisdom, (3)   honor and please God, (4)   bear good fruit, (5)   grow in the knowledge of God, (6)   be strengthened with God’s glorious power, (7)   have great endurance and patience, (8)   be filled with joy, and (9)   give thanks always. All believers have these same basic needs. When you don’t know how to pray for someone, use Paul’s prayer for the Colossians as a pattern.

1: 12-14   Paul lists five benefits God gives all believers through Christ: (1)   He has qualified us to share in his inheritance (also see 2   Corinthians 5: 21); (2)   he has rescued us from Satan’s dominion of darkness and made us his children (also see Colossians 2: 15); (3)   he has brought us into his eternal kingdom (also see Ephesians 1: 5-6); (4)   he has redeemed us, buying our freedom from sin and judgment with his blood (also see Hebrews 9: 12); and (5)   he has forgiven all our sins (also see Ephesians 1: 7). Thank God for what you have received in Christ.

1: 13   Darkness stands for evil, the dominion of Satan, and all those who reject God. Jesus commissioned Paul to go to the Gentiles and show them the light (Acts 26: 17-18). The Colossians feared the unseen forces of darkness, but Paul says that true believers have been transferred from darkness to light, from slavery to freedom, from guilt to forgiveness, and from the power of Satan to the power of God. We have been rescued from a rebel kingdom to serve the rightful King. With our new allegiance, we can live freely in God’s light, not in the dark. When you are afraid, ask God to fill all your darkness with his light.Tyndale. NIV Life Application Study Bible

ON THE WAY HOME WALK WITH JESUS gaining knowledge, wisdom ,and giving thanks for and praying for other CHRISTIANS, and asking God to fill anyfears or darknesses in your life with his light. by RICHARD DEAN BROOKS

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