How Should I Pray for . . . Others? (A Study of Colossians 1:9-14) Part 6

15 Sep

“Why don’t we ever pray for lost people?”, I wanted to scream!  I was at a mid-week prayer meeting at a small church I was visiting.  And all the prayer requests had to do with people’s health.  People-in-that-church’s health.  It was simply an “organ recital” (we just prayed about other people’s organs).  I was frustrated when I left that meeting.  No one mentioned any unsaved people they were trying to reach with the gospel.  No one asked for prayer for their own spiritual lives.  It was just the standard organ recital.

Please forgive me for my negative tone.  But I wonder what kind of Christian I would be if more people had prayed for me like the Apostle Paul prayed for the Colossians?  And I wonder what spiritual victories would have been won by people I know if I had only prayed more consistently and more deeply for them?

We are looking at Paul’s deep prayer in Colossians 1 and have seen his strategic commitment to pray for these believers in verse 9.  We’ve also begun to look at the specific content of his prayer in verses 9-12.  We’ve seen his first request for them and it was that they would be filled with a knowledge of God’s will (v. 9).  His second request was that they would live a life worthy of the Lord (v. 10).

Let’s notice Paul’s third request for these believers.  It is that they would —

C.  Bear Fruit in Every Good Work (v. 10)

I am sure you would agree with me that our minimalist Christianity has got to go!  Some of us have been satisfied for too long that all the gospel does is save us from hell.  That’s true, thankfully.  But the gospel is meant to change us.  To make us more like Jesus.  And we are often just content to glide to glory.  He saved us “just as we were” and we pretty much stay “just as we are.”

No!  He wants fruit-bearers!  May I suggest that the Lord is interested in two types of fruit:  internal fruit and external fruit.  The external fruit would be new people won to Christ, good works done in His name, seeking to positively influence our culture as salt and light, etc.  Many of us have bailed out of our earthly citizenship and are content to let our world go to hell in a handbasket.  We are to live in such a way that we preserve the good in our culture (salt) and illumine the evil in our culture (light).  I’m sure you can find many passages in Scripture reminding us of our job of producing external fruit.

But what about internal fruit?  I am, in a sense, haunted by 2 Peter 1 which says,

If I am going to “bear fruit in every good work,” there’s a lot of work for me to do!  On myself!  The Christian life is not a let-go-let-God arrangement.  Peter says we are to “make every effort to add to [our] faith”!  These seven virtues don’t come naturally to us — and they are not picked up by osmosis through perfect church attendance!

How about today choosing someone you know, someone you love, and praying this prayer for them: “Father, I pray for ___.  May they bear external and internal fruit for you today!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.”  [I just did that for one of my loved ones.  Your turn].  (to be continued)









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Posted by on September 15, 2018 in praying for others


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