Experiencing the Power of Prayer {A Study in Colossians}

By January 6, 2014God

Colossians HelloMornings Bible Study
For this week’s HelloMornings mini-challenge, we’ll be studying the book of Colossians — a letter Paul wrote to the believers who gathered in the city of Colossae.

A free downloadable study guide is available for all blog subscribers. You can find the study at the bottom of this post in your email or RSS feed. If you are not yet a subscriber go here and follow the instructions. An email with the download link to the study will be sent to you after you confirm your subscription. Enjoy!

A Study in Colossians

Reading Schedule

MONDAY:  Experiencing the Power of Prayer  ~  Colossians 1:1-14
TUESDAY:  Understanding the Fullness of Christ’s Deity  ~  Colossians 1:15-2:5
WEDNESDAY:  Knowing the Truth of God’s Word  ~  Colossians 2:6-23
THURSDAY:  Putting on the New Self  ~  Colossians 3:1-25
FRIDAY:  Sharing the Good News with Others  ~  Colossians 4:1-18

An Introduction to Colossians

ROME, 60-62 A.D.

The knock on the door meant another visitor. The prison guard announced that Epaphras from the city of Colossae had just arrived.

Paul eagerly greeted his guest. Even while under house arrest in Rome, Paul continued to share the Good News to everyone who came within earshot. Visitors came. Prayer meetings erupted into worship. Letters of encouragement were scribed.

Epaphras felt worn and weary from his thousand-mile journey to Rome, but hope filled him as he told Paul about the church he pastored in Colossae. Like most churches, it experienced its share of ups and downs. They had started off strong. Thanksgiving and gratitude marked their early years. With passion and fervor, they worshiped God and cared for each other.

But somewhere along the way, things began to change. New ideas were initiated. New practices were proposed. And new beliefs were brought in. With time, the purpose and vision for the church had shifted, and the truth about Christ was getting lost in the shuffle. Epaphras tried to preach that salvation only came through Jesus — that grace was a gift of grace, and not something to be earned. But Epaphras knew his efforts at stemming this tide had been futile.

Epaphras needed guidance, so he set out for Rome to seek the counsel of Paul, the apostle called to preach Christ to the gentiles.

Paul listened to Epaphras with the gentleness of a mentor. He could hear the love in Epaphras’ heart for his congregation. He could hear the concern in Epaphras’ voice. And even though Paul had never met this congregation, Paul grew to love the people in Colossae too.

Paul knew he needed to write a letter to the Colossians. He would travel there if he could, but his imprisonment forced him to stay in Rome for a while longer. So Paul bent his knees and prayed with Epaphras. Together they interceded for the believers in Colossae.

Then he pulled a quill from a nearby drawer and penned these words:

From the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding (Colossians 1:9).

An Overview of Colossians

Paul begins his letter with a prayer of thanksgiving. He then emphasizes the full deity of Christ since some members of that congregation had started to question whether or not Jesus was really God’s Son. He goes on to correct some of the false teaching that had infiltrated the church. Then he encourages them with the specific ways they could honor the Lord with their lives. He concludes with some final instructions for local church members.

Getting Started

Is there someone the Lord has put on your heart to pray for? What did you learn in your reading of Colossians today? Share with us in the comments.

31 Comments

  • Susan s says:

    Good morning. Today’s Scripture reminds to pray for fellow believers, specifically. When The Lord lays someone on my heart I should pray for them and then let them know that I’m praying and what I’m praying about. Encouragement.

  • Today’s scripture reminds me about the need to be grateful and pray for others.

  • Jessica says:

    God placed my sister on my heart today to pray that she comes to a saving knowledge of our Lord. My take home from today’s reading is to continually grow in my faith and bear much ‘fruit’!
    Have a wonderful Monday, all, and stay warm!

    • Jessica, that’s beautiful. And we know that we’re always praying according to His will when we pray for others to come to a saving knowledge of Him. I’m so thankful for that peace.

  • Angela says:

    God placedy friend jodi on my heart, she knows that the lord is there, but she has a hard time believeing it.

  • Amy F says:

    The Lord has put my good friend Christa on my heart to pray for. Her journey through life has been full of ups and downs.
    My take from this reading was we can teach others how to care for others to which we’ve never met.

  • Sandy says:

    I am praying for my church family. That we will have renewed passion for Christ this coming year. That we will be filled with the Holy Spirit as we leave the church building each Sunday and enter the Mission field to do God’s will.

  • Jennie B says:

    Hi there. I’m praying for my best friend Ali, a pal for 34 years who doesn’t yet know Jesus but is willing to go for healing prayer for her migraines. I’m excited to see what God might do!!!

    Just on a practical note, I’m looking forward to doing this challenge but I wanted to let you know that there are lots of people doing the HMC in Europe (and possible even further East). Some are US/Canadian missionaries (Albania and Croatia in our rorup) and some, like myself are nationals of places like the UK (other girls in my rorup last challenge were from Germany, and Holland). It would be awesome if the study could be arranged to post by, say 8pm or 9pm Sunday EST as it would then be ready for us up at 6 am in Western European time zones.

    HMC is going global so please don’t forget us in other time zones!

    With much thanks and love for all you do. HMC has literally been life-changing for me and I am so glad for everything you do.

    Jennie, Cambridge, England

  • Megan says:

    Verses 13 and 14 stood out to me. It reminds me of how we have been delivered from our sins and have been adopted into the Kingdom. We should walk in faith like we do have forgiveness and not that we have sins. Too many times we are focused on the sins instead of the Forgiver and the forgiveness…… we treat everyone with the grace and forgiveness that is offered us from God. I am reminded to continually pray for my husband.

    • Megan, I love that verse too. “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son.” (Colossians 1:13)

      I’m so grateful for His deliverance. Always and forever grateful.

  • Joy says:

    I’m so thankful for a great start to another season of studying, equipping and encouraging!

    The power, importance and necessity of prayer stood out especially clear to me this morning. I’m going to refresh my prayer journal this week. (Adding you, Jennie B., and friends across the Atlantic!)

    I had not noticed before that verse 11 lists “patience” and “longsuffering” as two separate attributes. I had previously assumed them to mean the same thing. I’m going to dive into that a little more, too.

    Thank you Denise for preparing this for us! My teen daughter just finished a study of Colossians with a mentor and study group. I’m looking forward to comparing notes! 🙂

  • […] I’ll be honest. I used to think of prayer as a rather dull exercise. Even though I’ve loved studying God’s Word since I was a teenager, I could never get into prayer. It felt foreign. Strange. […]

  • mjkh1945 says:

    The scriptures we read this morning certainly reminded me that fellow believers need prayer to stay strong and to be uplifted in God’s instructions to His people. I have chosen a fellow believer for my prayers this week, praying for fulfillment of Colossians 1:9-11. I am also giving thanks to the Father who has guided us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints…vs 12.

  • Crystal A says:

    I really love the prayer in Colossians…Paul prays for them to be filled with the knowledge of God’s will…SO THAT…they can go on to do numerous other things (live a worthy life, bear good fruit, have patience and endurance, etc…). After doing this study this morning, I was hit with a blow today regarding my finances and my first instinct was to freak out. Amazing isn’t it? I just read about prayer, and turning to God, and my flesh jumps right in and freaks out! But God is so gracious and merciful, it only took me a couple hours to get back on the right track…this wasn’t a surprise to Him and He has to have a way…so guess I’ll sit back and watch what it is! 🙂 I prayed for a friend today who is going through a divorce.

  • Melissa says:

    God has placed my family (husband and daughters) on my heart. I always pray for them (health, safety, etc.) however, I need to be more specific and to intercede more on their behalf.

  • Antonisha Polite says:

    I am very excited to start this study. It is quite fitting for me that the first lesson be on the power of prayer. I have always had issues with praying and “how to pray.” On the last section of the sheet I just wrote my prayer as if I was writing a letter to a friend. My friend Tyrone was placed on my heart to pray for. We have been dating for a year and had a split a few days ago. I keep encouraging him to come to church with me and he feels he is not ready for that because of his sins from the past. I keep trying to get him to focus on the Lord’s forgiveness and moving forward. Even if things don’t work out in our relationship, I really hope he can see God as a forgiver and not feel the need to stay away because of his past sins.

  • […] You can catch the commentary posts HERE, HERE, and […]

  • Bec says:

    Jenni from England makes a good point about the time differences. I’m not sure how the time difference works for England, but I know for myself, I feel a day behind as being in Australia we are 10 hours ahead of America or there abouts so I’m getting the post the next day, if that makes sense. The joys of being global.

    I do however, thank God for finding this great site and look forward to participating in the challenges.

    Thankfulness really stood out to me this morning as I did my devotion. I had to question myself if I truely do give enough thanks to God in my prayer times. Also in being more direct with what I am thankful for and not just doing a blanket thanks for everything, but going into more detail. Reading Paul’s letter shows the details of why he is thankful. He could have very easily just said I thank God for all of you and left it at that, but he didn’t. Something for me to work on.

  • Kel Max says:

    Is this where discussion will be held for each day?

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