There are seven specific requests that Paul makes on behalf of the Colossian believers in Colossians 1. We are studying his prayer in that passage and how committed he was to interceding for them. I’ve got a lot to learn about praying for others. And I’ve got a lot of actual praying to do!
We saw Paul’s strategic commitment to pray for them in 1:9 and then began noticing the specific content of his prayer in verses 9-12. His prays that they would be filled with a knowledge of God’s will (v. 9), that they would live a life worthy of the Lord (v. 10), that they would bear fruit in every good work (v. 10), and that they would grow in the knowledge of God (v. 10). He also prays that they would get strong in living out the Christian life (v. 11) and endure when life gets rough (v. 11).
Could one ask for a more in-depth, profound, specific, intentional prayer than that?! But Paul has one more request for these believers and it is that they would —
G. Live Joyfully with a Thankful Heart (v. 12)
He specifically prays that they would be “giving joyful thanks to the Father.” Not just “thanks” in general. But joyful thanks.
I’ve recently looked at the issue of a thankful heart and found the following verses challenging: “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” (Col. 3:15) “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” (Col. 4:2) “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our ‘God is a consuming fire.’” (Heb. 12:28-29)
Thankfulness is a key to living out the Christian life — and Paul wants these Colossian Christians to be joyfully thankful! When I think of thanks that isn’t joyful, I can’t escape the picture of an young boy who get pajamas from his grandmother for Christmas, instead of a toy. He thanks her, but it’s not joyful thanks, is it?
We’ve seen in these rich, deep, prayer requests that Paul cares deeply for these believers. And he wants them to grow strong and mature in their walk with Jesus.
We have one more section to look at in Paul’s prayer (in our next post), but let me challenge you with a quote from Daniel Yankelovich, a public opinion analysis and social scientist who said,