It’s dark. It’s cold. You’ve been thrown into prison, and you don’t know when you’ll get out or when you’ll eat your next meal. You bow your head to pray. What will you pray for? Safety? Deliverance? A decent meal?
If you are the apostle Paul, you pray for something far different. You talk to God about a group of people you have never seen.
Colossians 1 gives us a brief record of Paul’s prison prayer for the people at the church in Colosse. His words help us see how important intercessory prayer should be—even when we have our own troubles.
In Paul’s case, he prayed for what he thought this young church needed. He asked God to give them several things, including spiritual understanding (v.9), fruitful lives (v.10), and strength, patience, and joy (v.11).
Paul gave thanks and prayed for his fellow believers “always” (v.3). Not just when he felt good. Not just when he was warm and well-fed. Always.
How often is our prayer-life interrupted by circumstances that we turn into excuses? Our friends, our family members—even people we don’t know—need our intercession. No matter what our difficulty, let’s pray for others.
We give to others what they need;
We show no greater care
Than when we give them to the Lord,
Surrounding them with prayer. —DJD
The best way to influence people for God is to intercede with God for people.