Prayer of Thanksgiving
“We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing – as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf and has made known to us your love in the Spirit” Colossians 1:3-8
The Christians in Colosse had heard of Jesus and they had put their faith in Him and it was bearing fruit and for this reason Paul was praying a prayer of thanksgiving. Paul had not ever been to Colosse, but Epaphras was apparently reporting to Paul what was happening there. It’s probable that Epaphras was the one who had brought the gospel to Colosse but it is sure that he ministered to the Christians in Colosse. It is possible that Epaphras had heard the gospel himself from Paul.
Paul is thanking God for the faith, the love and the hope of the Colossian Chistians. The Christians in Colosse heard the gospel and they got it. There are issues that Paul will address later in his letter to the Colossians but above all, he is thanking God for their faith, their love and their hope. Have you ever seen someone as the light comes on and they really get it? A baby Christian can be the most fun to watch! That’s what this prayer makes me think of. When someone first realizes the gospel and turns toward Jesus, their faith is fresh, they have deeper love for their fellow Christians and they realize the hope that they have in heaven. I have had the privilege to watch a few times and when I have it always brings me fresh faith, deeper love and renewed hope. The things I should have all the time.
In Paul’s prayer here he is also testifying that the gospel is spreading and bearing fruit in the world just as it was among the Colossians. And he is thankful that the Colossians understand the grace of God and the truth. I love Paul’s example here in praying for the Colossians. He gives us the example that before he addresses what is wrong in Colosse, he addresses what is right. I think that is a lesson for me for sure. I can look back over some of my journals and realize where I fall short in recognizing the good things before I pray about the wrong things.
Today I am going to try to focus on what I can be grateful for. Where am I seeing the lights coming on in someone’s eyes in relation to the gospel? Who am I praying for that I need to recognize what is right before I pray about or address what is wrong? I know I can fall into a trap at times of negative thinking and I have to be purposeful in looking for the good. Today I want to focus on being grateful for the faith, love and hope I can see in others and cultivate the faith, love and hope in myself a little more.
I also thank God for Epaphras, who was a faithful minister to the Colossians and I thank God for the faithful ministers in my own life. Take a minute today if you will to think on the faithful ministers you have had in your own life and thank God for them and ask God to bless them. Let’s choose today to be thankful and see if we can cultivate a fresher faith, a deeper love and a renewed hope in the world!