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The Scriptorium

How to Pray for the Saints

And to get them to pray for you. Colossians 1.9-12

Introduction and Purpose: Colossians 1.1-18 (4)

Opening Prayer: Psalm 16.3
As for the saints who are on the earth,
“They are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight.”

Psalm 16.3, 11
(All to Christ: Jesus Paid It All)
The saints within the earth, majestic in their day,
delight me with the worth of all they do and say.
Refrain, v. 11
Make me know life’s way! Pleasures fill Your hand.
Fill my life with joy each day! Before Your face I stand.

Read Colossians 1.9-12

1. How many different things did Paul include in his prayers for the Colossians?

2. Do you see anything like a progression here, or an “order of operations”?

Once again, Paul mentions his constant praying for the Colossians (cf. v. 3). By his example, Paul teaches us the importance of praying for our fellow believers, that they might be faithful saints like the Colossians. Paul would say we should pray about everything and without ceasing, as often as the Lord puts another believer in our mind (cf. Phil. 4.6, 7; 1 Thess. 5.17; Phil. 1.3). Let’s consider the specific items he sought from the Lord for the Colossians.

We’ll work back to front: Paul prayed that they would be a people who gave thanks and praise to God (v. 12). He knew they would need patience and joy to continue their witness for the Lord, so he prayed that God would strengthen them with His might and power (v. 11). He prayed that they might increase in the knowledge of the Lord as they walked in a manner worthy of the Gospel, bearing much fruit of good works and knowing the pleasure of the Lord in every area of their lives (v. 10). And he knew they would need clear knowledge of God’s will, coupled with wisdom and spiritual understanding, for any of this to be true (v. 9).

Here is a simple template for praying for other believers: That they may be filled with the knowledge of God and His will, and live out in wisdom and understanding all that God shows them of Himself. Thus they will walk in a manner worthy of their calling and give thanks to the Lord at all times. We should pray this way for the believers God has put in our lives, for such prayers can be of much benefit to other believers.

Let our prayers for them begin with their being filled with the knowledge of God and His will, which is gained through devoted reading and study of His Word, coupled with prayer and obedience. From this beginning, grows all the good fruit of true discipleship.

Treasure Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
The Colossians’ love was declared to Paul. But was that enough?
Was that the total fulfillment of their faith?
When a movie is being made the director calls out, “Lights. Camera.”
And then what? Without the “Action!” there isn’t much to the production.

Paul was pleased with the Colossians’ love, but he was praying for more: “For this reason” (their love) “we also…do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be:
1. filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
2. that you may walk worthy of the Lord,
3. fully pleasing Him,
4. being fruitful in every good work and
5. increasing in the knowledge of God;
6. strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy;
7. giving thanks to the Father Who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light” (Col. 1.9-12).


And how do we do this? How do we bring this action to our love?
How will we ever be able to accomplish in our own lives the things that Paul prayed for?
Or to see other believers accomplish?

We must realize that God’s Word, and His Law, are our sustenance; and that God gives us the power through the Word, prayer, and His Holy Spirit to live it.

As Moses said: “Set your hearts on all the words which I testify among you…all the words of this law. For it is not a futile thing for you, because it is your life…” (Deut. 32.46,47)

“From this beginning (reading and studying the Word, prayer, obedience), grows all the good fruit of true discipleship.”

1. Paul makes a strong connection between knowing the Lord and acting as a faithful saint. How would you describe that connection?

2. Who are the believers in your Personal Mission Field? Will you pray for them like Paul prayed for the Colossians? Then let them know you’re praying this way?

3. Whom can you ask to pray for you this way?

Paul’s prayer is his way of building on the fundamentals of belief already taught to the Colossians, so that faith will be extended to practice, to right actions.
Theodore of Mopsuestia (350-428), Commentary on Colossians

Closing Prayer: Psalm 16.1, 2, 4-11
Seek the Presence of the Lord and the glory in His face (2 Cor. 4.6). Ask Him to guide you and your fellow believers with His counsel, to lead you into His pleasure, and to give you power to walk the path of life.

Psalm 16.1, 2, 4-11
(All to Christ: Jesus Paid It All)
Preserve me, O my God; I refuge seek in You.
You alone are all my good, my Lord and Savior true!
Refrain v. 11
Make me know life’s way! Pleasures fill Your hand.
Fill my life with joy each day! Before Your face I stand.

They endless tears shall weep who worship idols vain;
their ways I will not keep, nor speak their empty names.

My portion and my cup are You, my Savior dear;
You help and hold me up and ever keep me near.

I bless Your Name, O Lord; my mind instructs each night;
You teach me by Your Word and guide me in the right.

You are ever with me, Lord; in You I shall not fall.
But rejoicing in Your Word, I abide within Your call.

Soon Your glory I shall see, for as Jesus rose again,
You will come to gather me to my home with You in heav’n.

T. M. and Susie Moore

You can listen to last week’s summary of the book Ruth by clicking here.

Colossians in God’s Covenant
Where does the book of Colossians fit in God’s covenant with His people? Our workbook, God’s Covenant, can help you to answer that question and to gain a better understanding of how the grace of God reaches and transforms us in Jesus Christ. Order your free copy by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, all Scripture are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
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