A Prayer of Intercession
By Jessica Van Roekel
"May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light." - Colossians 1:11-12 ESV
I cherish, protect, and nurture my sleep. So, when it's disrupted, I am a little disgruntled. But when God wakes me with a name on my heart, I know he's called me to pray. I could grumble about the interrupted night's sleep or obediently pray. Sometimes the names God wakes me up with are people I know, so I have a general idea of how to pray for them. Other times it's a missionary I've never met but our church supports or a ministry I know about.
The Apostle Paul traveled far and wide, spreading the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. He founded several churches, and many of his letters were to those congregations. However, the church in Colossae was not a church he founded or visited, yet he wrote a personal letter to them. The church in Colossae was likely founded by Epaphras, who was converted to Christ during the time of Paul's ministry in Ephesus. Paul's letter to the Colossians was prompted by a visit from Epaphras, who shared a good report of the congregation and the church's spiritual challenges and doctrinal errors.
Paul had never met the Colossians, yet he prayed a powerful prayer for them. When we don't know what to pray for someone, we can turn to Paul's prayer for the Colossians in chapter 1, verses 9-14, for guidance. He prayed the Colossians believers would honor and please the Lord in four ways: fruitfulness, maturity, power, and gratitude. Paul prayed the Colossians would honor the Lord by bearing fruit. His word choice indicates bearing fruit is present and continual. Fruitfulness is the result of the Holy Spirit's work in individuals. Fruit trees produce fruit according to the kind of tree they are, and Christians are no different. We can pray for other people to bear fruit as they submit to the working of God in their life. Initial salvation kick starts our growth and maturity in Jesus Christ. Effective Christian life and ministry flow from a consistent increase in the knowledge of God. It is not mere head knowledge but personal knowledge through applying what we learn about Christ to our lives. We can pray for someone to have an ongoing life of discovery and adventure with Jesus.
The Colossians faced criticism, intimidation, and pre-Christian mindsets. They needed empowerment to endure with patience which is what Paul prayed for and what God provided. Christians today face discouragement, disappointment, pressure, and persecution. We face trials, temptations, and tests from various sources: our pre-Jesus past, criticism for following Jesus, and attacks from our adversary, the devil. These combine to distract us from devotion to God, make our influence ineffective, trap Christian leaders, and destroy the work God wants to do. We can pray that Christians be "strengthened with all power. . . that [they] may have great endurance and patience" (1:11). Paul emphasized rejoicing in his letters. Joyful gratitude helps us remember our Heavenly Father's gift of salvation. People will always want to disqualify what God has done in our lives. A joyful, grateful heart is one way to strengthen our hearts because we remember that God qualifies, rescues, and brings us into his kingdom. We can pray Christians will express their joy and gratitude over what God has done.
Thank you for calling us to pray for others and giving us the words to pray in this letter to the Colossians. As we pray, we ask they will continually bear fruit as they serve you. May they know you more and more in a personal way. May you empower them to face persecution with endurance and patience. And may their heart overflow with joyful gratitude as they remember how you rescue, qualify, and bring them into your kingdom. Pour your Spirit upon them as they seek to live for you. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/AntonioGuillem
Jessica Van Roekel loves the upside-down life of following Jesus as she journeys to wholeness through brokenness. As an author, speaker, and worship leader, she uses her gifts and experiences to share God’s transformative power to rescue, restore, and renew. She longs for you to know that rejection doesn’t have to define or determine your future when placed in God’s healing hands. Find out more reframingrejectionbook.
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Originally published Thursday, 08 June 2023.