01 September 2011

"We have not ceased praying for you" (v. 9)


Paul had heard from Epaphras ("his beloved fellow servant" (v. 7)) about the faith of the Christians at Colossae, and as one called to be an apostle to the non-Jewish world, he felt a responsibility for their spiritual growth and well-being. So he writes to them from his prison cell (Colossians 4:18), and seeks to encourage and guide them in their Christian lives. In the preceding section of the letter (verses 3-8) Paul has shown how thankful he is for the faith of the Colossian Christians and the way they have expressed their faith practically in their love for their fellow believers. Here, Paul informs them of his prayers for them. Six requests in particular may be identified:

  • that they might know God's will (verse 9)
  • that they might do God's will (verse 10)
  • that they might grow in the knowledge of God (verse 10)
  • that they might experience God's power (verse 11)
  • that they might persevere as Christians (verse 11)
  • that they might be thankful for all that God has done for them (verse 12)

They are prayers which are just as relevant for us, and those for whom we are concerned, as they were for Paul's first readers.

The last few verses (verses 12-14) draw upon the Exodus story in the Old Testament. Just as God delivered his people from the tyranny of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, in the time of Moses, so, Paul is saying, God has delivered those who believe in Christ from the realm of spiritual darkness and has brought them into the kingdom of Christ, the realm of spiritual light. This act of deliverance has taken place through Christ himself, God's own Son, who has set us free from the guilt and power of our sins and enables us to live a new life under his Lordship. This leads Paul on, in the next section of the letter (verses 15-23), to meditate on the unique person of Christ, and the effects of his saving work.


To Ponder

Which of the prayer requests listed above is most relevant to your life today?

Who do you know who most needs what Paul prays for here?

Bible notes author: The Revd Peter Ensor

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