Tireless prayer is…well, tiresome. But as members of the same local church it is important to pray for one another and to do so often and with consistency. Prayers offered up haphazardly and without thought don’t express the same kind of love and devotion to others that Paul exemplifies for the Christians at Colossae. Paul prays without ceasing for them. We ought to pray regularly for our church family.
Paul says that from the day he first heard about their salvation and their love for all the saints he has “not ceased to pray for you” (v. 9a). Paul is devoted to the church. He says, “I rejoice in my suffering for your sake” (v. 24a). He adds, “For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face” (2:1). He has a burden for them, he loves them beyond mere words and religious duties. He prays ceaselessly, he toils and struggles for them. This is a deep commitment, one that I don’t think we find often among church families.
Paul sets a high standard for us. One that calls us to love in word and deed for the long-haul. This is a kind of commitment that goes beyond the Sunday morning hand shake, beyond the Facebook birthday wish. It is a kind of commitment that calls us to our knees on behalf of those we worship with regularly, to cry out to God on their behalf. Do you love your church family like this? Do you pray “without ceasing” for them?
Often we get frustrated with a lack of results in people. We pray for their growth, we pray for their healing, we pray for their life decisions and often we don’t see immediate change. In those times it can be hard to pray “without ceasing.” In our frustration with them or our frustration with God we can decide to quit praying for them. We have had folks from our fellowship walk away from the faith or simply walk away from our church. It is tempting to give up on them, to wash our hands of them, or simply to forget to pray for them. But it is important that we maintain devotion to them because we love them and they have been part of our family.
Paul sets a good example for us. Not an impossible one, but not an easy one either. It requires genuine love and commitment. It requires even reminders to pray for them. I recommend a regular prayer list or prayer schedule to help you pray regularly for all the members of your fellowship. However you do it remember to pray for them. Paul prays without ceasing for the Colossians, we ought to do the same for those we worship with.