Summary: Not only at Thanksgiving, and not just at meals, but always and in all things...give thanks! A study on PRAYER is also a study on PRAISE. Link included to formatted text and PowerPoint Template.
PRAYING AND GIVING THANKS
Paul was a man of prayer. He was a great Christian, an outstanding scholar, a model missionary, a giant among men--spiritually, morally and intellectually, but above all he was a man of prayer. His Christian life began in prayer, Acts 9:10-11; he prayed for himself, 2 Cor. 12:7-9, he asked others to pray for him, Eph. 6:18-20, and he practiced the holy art of intercession, praying for others, like his Lord, John 17:9.
It is significant to notice that Paul’s prayers were full of praises. Notice his praises in Col. 1:3 and 12; his prayers in Col. 1:3 and 9; then in Col. 1:9-14 we are told for what he prayed.
THE CHARACTERISTICS OF PAUL’S PRAYER
Verse 9 tells us that:
(1) It was marked by PERSISTENCY.
"We also...do not cease to pray for you”
Paul knew something about unceasing prayer
1 Thess. 5:17—Pray without ceasing. Compare Luke 18:1…
And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
Prayer is warfare.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
If we give up when we are praying the battle goes to the enemy.
And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,
(2) It was marked by INTENSITY.
Notice the word "desire" in verse 9. It indicates that Paul was passionate in his praying; his prayers were filled with a deep longing. There was intensity about them. Compare Matt. 17:21…
Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.
(3) It was marked by UNITY.
Paul says, "We...pray for you." We may pray alone, Matt. 6:6 [in secret]; Jas. 5:17 [Elijah praying for rain], but there is special power in united, corporate prayer.
And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.
Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.
These are the characteristics of Paul’s prayer: Persistency, Intensity, & Unity.
THE CONTENT OF PAUL’S PRAYER
In Col. 1:9-14 we are told that Paul prayed for seven things:
(1) That they might be PERCEPTIVE of God’s will.
We see this in verse 9. He prayed that these Colossians "might be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding. We need spiritual enlightenment in order that we might know the will of God and do it. By nature we cannot understand the things of the Spirit of God.
But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
[Compare John 3:2-7.]
(2) That they might be PLEASING to the Lord. This is mentioned in verse 10, "that ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing...".
For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.
For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.
(3) That they might be PROFITABLE in service. Verse 10 says, "being fruitful in every good work ..." Until we become Christians our lives are unprofitable, and it is only when we are converted that they are made profitable.
10 I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds: 11 Which in time past was to thee unprofitable, but now profitable to thee and to me:
The will of God is that our lives should manifest the fruit of the Spirit. [Gal. 5:22-23, 1 Cor. 13:4-7 and 2 Pet. 1:5-7.] In John 15, we find that there are three stages: fruit, verse 2; more fruit, verse 2; and much fruit, verses 5 and 8. [Compare John Mark’s progress in 2 Tim 4:11 with Acts 13:13.]
(4) That they might be PROGRESSING in the Christian life. Verse 10 continues, “…and increasing in the knowledge of God”, and the operative word is the word "increasing". Paul longed that these Christians should grow. See the beautiful picture in Hos. 14:5-7. The Christian life is in three stages: little children, young men, and fathers, 1 John 2:12-14.