“We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints;” (Colossians 1:3-4).
Just as Paul the Apostle expressed his thankfulness for the New Testament congregations of Thessalonica and Philippi, the faith and love exhibited by the church at Colossae prompted him to voice a similar expression of gratitude to God. In fact, the faith and love shown by the members of the Colossian church led Paul to acknowledge his thankfulness to God even though he had never met the members of their congregation.
Unfortunately, this was not true of every church that received a letter from the Apostle Paul. For instance, consider Paul’s opening message to the churches in the region of Galatia…
“I am amazed that you are turning away so soon from God who, in his love and mercy, invited you to share the eternal life he gives through Christ; you are already following a different ‘way to heaven,’ which really doesn’t go to heaven at all” (Galatians 1:6 TLB).
There was very little to inspire Paul to give thanks for that kind of news. The contrast between these messages serves to remind us that we can inspire others to express their gratitude and appreciation to God just like the churches at Colossae, Philippi, and Thessalonica. In a similar manner, the example of the Galatian churches reminds us that our actions and attitudes may prompt others to offer a very different response. Therefore, we would be well-advised to follow the good example of the Colossian church and prayerfully seek to become people who inspire others to “…give praise to God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (BBE) as well.
We should also note Paul’s commitment to prayer on behalf of the Colossians in this passage. One commentary acknowledges this reference to “praying always for you” with the following insight…
“Taken by itself, this expression does not seem remarkable, but it takes on new meaning when we remember that this describes Paul’s interest in people he had never met. We often find it difficult to remember our own relatives and friends before the throne of grace, but think of the prayer list the Apostle Paul must have kept! He prayed not only for those he knew but also for Christians in faraway places whose names had been mentioned to him by others. Truly Paul’s untiring prayer life helps us to understand him better.” (1)
(1) William Macdonald, Believer’s Bible Commentary Edited by Arthur Farstad Thomas Nelson Publishers p.1989