TEXT: Colossians 1:1-14
1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timotheus our brother,
2 To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,
4 Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints,
5 For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel;
6 Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:
7 As ye also learned of Epaphras our dear fellowservant, who is for you a faithful minister of Christ;
8 Who also declared unto us your love in the Spirit.
9 For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;
11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;
12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
— PRAYER —
We are in a series of messages titled “Praying Through the Bible: A Series on Every Passage and Verse Regarding Prayer in the Bible.” The purpose of this series is to encourage and motivate you to pray to the God of the Bible. We highlighted each of these over 500 verses and passages in the Prayer Motivator Devotional Bible. So far, we have completed 319 messages in this series.
This is message #320 titled, How to Pray for Fellow Believers, Part 1.
Paul is writing to believers in the town of Colossae, and, at the outset of his letter, he has high praise for their faith. To help us get to know who these believers are and what their circumstances are, allow me to share with you some background information from Warren Wiersbe:
Do the heavenly bodies have any influence over our lives? The millions of people who consult their horoscopes each day would say, “Yes!” In the United States, there are about 1,750 daily newspapers, and 1,220 of them carry astrological data!
Is there any relationship between diet and spiritual living? Does God speak to us immediately, in our minds, or only through His Word, the Bible? Do the Eastern religions have something to offer the evangelical Christian? These questions sound very contemporary. Yet they are the very issues Paul dealt with in his magnificent Epistle to the Colossians. We need this important letter today just as they needed it back in A.D. 60 when Paul wrote it. Colosse was one of three cities located about one hundred miles inland from Ephesus. The other two cities were Laodicea and Hierapolis. This area was a meeting point of East and West because an important trade route passed through there. At one time, all three cities were growing and prosperous, but gradually Colosse slipped into a second-rate position. It became what we would call a small town. Yet the church there was important enough to merit the attention of the apostle Paul.
“Colosse probably would never have been mentioned in the New Testament had it not been for the church there. The city is never named in the book of Acts because Paul did not start the Colossian church, nor did he ever visit it. Paul had HEARD of their faith, but he had never seen these believers personally. Here was a church of unknown people, in a small town, receiving an inspired letter from the great apostle Paul!
“How did the Colossian church begin? It was the outgrowth of Paul’s three-year ministry in Ephesus. So effective was the witness of the church at Ephesus that “all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks”. This would include people in Colossae, Laodicea, and Hierapolis. When we examine the persons involved in the prison correspondence of Paul, we can just about put the story together of how the Colossian church was founded. During Paul’s ministry in Ephesus, at least two men from Colossae were brought to faith in Jesus Christ—Epaphras and Philemon. Epaphras apparently was one of the key founders of the church in Colossae, for he shared the Gospel with his friends there. He also had a ministry in the cities of Hierapolis and Laodicea. Philemon had a church meeting in his home. It is likely that Apphia and Archippus, mentioned in this verse, were respectively the wife and son of Philemon, and that Archippus was the pastor of the church. There is a good lesson for us here: God does not always need an apostle, or a “full-time Christian worker” to get a ministry established. Nor does He need elaborate buildings and extensive organizations. Here were two laymen who were used of God to start ministries in at least three cities. It is God’s plan that the Christians in the large urban areas like Ephesus reach out into the smaller towns and share the Gospel. Is your church helping to evangelize “small-town” mission fields? The Colossian assembly was predominantly Gentile in its membership. The sins that Paul named were commonly associated with the Gentiles, and his statement about the mystery applied more to the Gentiles than to the Jews. The church was probably about five years old when Paul wrote this letter.
“Paul wrote this letter because a crisis had occurred that was about to destroy the ministry of the church. [While Paul was a prisoner in Rome], Epaphras, who is mentioned in verse 7, visited Paul because he needed his help. Some new doctrines were being taught in Colosse and were invading the church and creating problems. So Paul wrote this letter to the Colossians in order to refute these heretical teachings and establish the truth of the gospel.”
In this mini-series in the Praying Through the Bible Series, we will not get much into Paul’s refuting of the false doctrine threatening the church at Colosse. We will be focusing on verses 9-14 of chapter 1 in which Paul expresses the many things he prays for on behalf of the Colossian believers. One thing that we will notice is that Paul’s prayers are largely positive. He has heard many good things about the church at Colosse. And his prayers are for the church to keep going in the direction that they have been going.
Paul and his associates received a good report from the Colossian minister Epaphras about this local church body. He calls the believers “faithful brethren” and says that he is “giving thanks” for their faith in Christ, their love for other believers, the hope they have in Heaven, and the fruit that is being produced in their lives. So, his prayer for these believers is a joyous thing. Through his example, we see the things that we should pray for on behalf of our brothers and sisters in Christ. And we see a reflection of how we should live so that when others pray for us, they can go to God, not with a heavy heart all the time, but with a heart full of thanksgiving and praise.
Cora M. Adams wrote:
Pilgrims of earth on your journey through life,
Joyous in freedom, or weary with strife,
Tidings we bring you, sweet message so true:
Someone who loves you is praying for you.
Is it a father, his form bowed with care?
Bending ’neath burdens that someone should share,
Working and hoping with heart ever true,
Patiently trusting, and praying for you.
Is it a mother, with silvery hair?
Steps slow and feeble, the form once so fair,
Keeping love’s lamp trimmed and burning so true,
Waiting for Heaven, and praying for you.
Is it a sister, a brother, or friend?
Sharing life’s burdens and true to the end,
Thro’ storm and sunshine with skies dark or blue,
Someone who loves you is praying for you.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Now, if you are with us today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, your first prayer needs to be what we call the Sinner’s Prayer. First, please understand that you are a sinner, just as I am, and that you have broken God’s laws. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your Salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on trusting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. You have done the most important thing in life. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door, by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.
He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.
He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.