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How to Pray for Other Believers — Part 3

14 May

Prayer — Such a mysterious habit for the believer in Jesus. Maybe you don’t struggle with the discipline of prayer, but I do. I often treat prayer as a last resort, when I’ve run out of humanly-produced options, when I’m helpless and can’t solve my own problems. It’s like I have God on speed dial and His only number is 9-1-1. What a poor view of prayer!

And how often — when I do pray — are my prayers for me and mine? What about others? I’m slowly learning that God expects and invites me to intercede for others, to put their needs ahead of my own, to bring them before the throne of God and to earnestly pray for them.

I’ve recently been challenged by Colossians 1 and Paul’s prayer for those believers. Here’s what we read:

How to Pray for Other Believers (Col. 1:9-14)

We’ve noticed two parts of my outline of this challenging text:

I. The Commitment to Pray for Others (v. 9)

We’ve seen that Paul’s praying for these Colossians is not described as something he started to do, but as something he would not stop doing. And we asked, for whom are you continually praying?

We’ve also seen —

II. The Primary Purpose in Praying for Others (vv. 9-10)

Paul writes: “We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives . . .”

Our prayers are to be for the critical issue of others knowing God’s will and growing in the wisdom and understanding the Spirit gives.

Let’s continue our study and notice —

III. The Specifics of What We Should Pray for Others (vv. 10-14).

How easy it is for us to pray for each other’s health, job, family, choice of college, etc. So what makes Paul’s list as he intercedes for these believers? He prays —

A. That They Would Live a Life Worthy of the Lord (v. 10)

Can any of us do that? Really? It must be possible if Paul invested time in praying precisely for that need for these Colossian believers. But what does it mean to “live a life worthy of the Lord”?

To do anything worthy of another means that we are meeting their expectations, their best desires for us. Of course we are not worthy in and of ourselves, but we have hundreds of choices every day to honor Him and make Him proud of us. I’m reminded of a great story about worthiness. The late Dr. Howard Hendricks, beloved Dallas Seminary professor, asked a student to open the seminary class in prayer. The student prayed, “Lord, we know that we are worthless servants and . . .” Dr. Hendricks interrupted the student and said, “We are not worthless, son. We are unworthy. You may now finish your prayer.”

Are you and I living a life worthy of the Lord? How can we tell? (Comments welcome below)

 
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Posted by on May 14, 2021 in Colossians 1

 

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