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How to Pray for Other Believers — Part 8

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?

 

 
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Posted by on May 24, 2021 in Colossians 1

 

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Ten Habits That Are Helping Me in My Christian Life! (Habit #3)

“Just read your Bible — and pray!” This was the advice given to me when I was first saved. And, to a large extent, that was great advice!

But the Christian life involves more than (but not less than) reading God’s Word and praying. I’m not at all sure I’ve mastered those two habits, but I’m working on them.

A third habit that really helps me is to practice a spirit of thankfulness. This might seem like an odd “discipline,” but it is certainly biblical. We read in Romans 1 that our default setting is unthankfulness:  “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.” My foolish heart gets darkened when I stop being thankful.

For me this is a several-times-a-day habit. I’ll say to myself, “List five things you thank the Lord for. Right now!” It’s not all that hard to do. I’m still vertical (alive). I’ve got a great wife. I’m getting opportunities for significant ministry. We’ve been given six wonderful grandkids.  I actually have people reading my blog! You get the picture.

We glorify God with thanksgiving (Ps. 69:3). We are to “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” (Psalm 100:4). In fact, we are to overflow with thankfulness (Col. 2:7 says that we are to be “rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”) I don’t quite understand how I am to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus,” (I Thes. 5:18), but I believe it and I want to practice it! When it comes to joking around (which I like to do), Paul commands in Ephesians 5:4 the following: “Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.” And then my prayer life ought to help me with my anxiety and worry, for Scripture says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Phil. 4:6).

Is this a holy habit you want to cultivate?  Then I thank God for you and pray for you to take steps toward that discipline! (to be continued)

 
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Posted by on January 3, 2018 in holy habits

 

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