These guys had come to be followers of Jesus and although Paul had never met them, Epaphras heard the good news about Jesus from Paul, and established a community of people who followed Jesus.
At this point Paul is in prison, writing to them to encourage them to keep on going. He's encouraged by the way have grown and are fruitful - seeing Faith, Love and Hope in their lives; their faith in Christ Jesus, their love for all of God's people, and the confident hope of what God has reserved for them in heaven.
These three are the basic markers of growth in us as followers of Christ - growing in faith, hope and love. And they are interlinked in so many ways. As the good news of Jesus impacts people all over the world, this fruitfulness is seen in their lives too. Faith in what Jesus said about life and reality. A self-giving love for others. And that certain hope that what Jesus Christ has said about our future, will happen - that we are part of a new kingdom that will go on and on into eternity. These three are markers of the stable fruitful Christian life.
And although Paul sees these things in the Colossians, he prays for it still. He prays very specifically. No vague namby pamby prayers. Specific. Deliberate. Clear. He pours on the fertilizer of prayer, to encourage more fruitfulness and growth. Though he cannot be with them, he believes in the power of prayer - that when he prays for them (in Rome probably) that the Spirit works in the people he is praying for. He really believes that!
This is what he prays:
We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding...
We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need.
May you be filled with joy always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people who live in the light. For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his dear Son who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.