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).
C. Bearing fruit in every good work (v. 10).
D. Growing in the knowledge of God (v. 10)
E. Being Strengthened with All Power to Endure! (v. 11)
Let’s notice a sixth request Paul makes for these believers —
F. Giving joyful thanks to the Father who has qualified us as holy people (v. 12)
Thankfulness. It seems to be a lost art or practice or orientation. But I need to pray for others that they would be marked by a joyful thanks! What other “thanks” could there be? Well, one might argue for reluctant thanks or conditional thanks or desperate thanks. But we should long for others to practice giving joyful thanks to the Father
Why? At the very least because He has qualified us as holy people! We didn’t qualify ourselves, did we?
Question: For whom are you praying that they will be marked by a JOYFUL THANKFULNESS, recognizing that God Himself has qualified them as holy people?