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How to Pray for Other Believers — Part 5

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)

B. To please Him in every way (v. 10).

Let’s notice a third request Paul makes for these believers —

C. Bearing fruit in every good work (v. 10).

We are to be fruit-bearers! We are not simply decorative trees that take up space! We are to bear fruit. We are not to live for ourselves but are to look for opportunities to be fruitful in the works that we do. Our faith is not solely verbal. We are commissioned to do good works (Eph. 2:8-10).

What good work can you choose to do today that will bear fruit?

 
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Posted by on May 18, 2021 in Colossians 1

 

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

“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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Psalms of the Salter: Some Thoughts on Really Living for the Lord (Psalm 92)

Please read this excellent article from John Piper on Trump’s inauguration today found here.  It is entitled “How to Live Under an Unqualified President.”

Psalm 92 A psalm. A song. For the Sabbath day.screen-shot-2016-10-09-at-6-07-46-am

It is good to praise the Lord
    and make music to your name, O Most High,
proclaiming your love in the morning
    and your faithfulness at night,
to the music of the ten-stringed lyre
    and the melody of the harp.

For you make me glad by your deeds, Lord;
    I sing for joy at what your hands have done.
How great are your works, Lord,
    how profound your thoughts!
Senseless people do not know,
    fools do not understand,
that though the wicked spring up like grass
    and all evildoers flourish,
    they will be destroyed forever.

But you, Lord, are forever exalted.

For surely your enemies, Lord,
    surely your enemies will perish;
    all evildoers will be scattered.
10 You have exalted my horn like that of a wild ox;
    fine oils have been poured on me.
11 My eyes have seen the defeat of my adversaries;
    my ears have heard the rout of my wicked foes.

12 The righteous will flourish like a palm tree,
    they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;
13 planted in the house of the Lord,
    they will flourish in the courts of our God.
14 They will still bear fruit in old age,
    they will stay fresh and green,
15 proclaiming, “The Lord is upright;
    he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”

 
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Posted by on January 20, 2017 in old age

 

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