Paul begins his letter to the Colossians by giving thanks to God. He is giving thanks to God because of the Hope laid up for them in Heaven. The section itself is not a prayer. Paul simply tells them that he started to pray for them always after learning of their:
- Their faith in Christ Jesus
- Their love for all the saints
These things for Paul seem to indicate genuine Christian salvation (hope) - Paul has been praying always for them since discovering their faith and love. Although not explicitly stated, it is fairly clear that in Paul's mind their faith and love are the reason for their hope. This requirement to love is also seen in John (gospels and letters), for instance John 15:17 and 1 John 4:7ff. 1 John 4:8 is clear: he who does not love does not know God.
The whole section also has clear echoes of 1 Corinthians 13:13.
So what about this hope? It's mentioned and quickly dropped. Paul is giving thanks to God for the hope they already have, which "you previously heard" (v.5) in the gospel. The gospel which has come to them is increasing and bearing fruit around the world, even in the lives of those who live in Colossae!
What can we take away from this section?
This section shows how important faith and love are to the gospel as Paul can know about the hope the Colossians have which comes through the gospel by hearing of their faith in Christ and love of one another.