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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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Everyday Thanksgiving!

Even though I clutch my blanket and growl when the alarm rings, thank you, Lord, that I can hear.  There are many who are deaf.

Even though I keep my eyes closed against the morning light as long as possible, thank you, Lord, that I can see.  Many are blind.

Even though I huddle in my bed and put off rising, thank you Lord, that I have the strength to rise.  There are many who are bedridden.

Even though the first hour of my day is hectic, when socks are lost, toast is burned, and tempers are short, my children are so loud, thank you, Lord, for my family.  There are many who are alone.

Even though our breakfast table never looks like the pictures in magazines and the menu is at times unbalanced, thank you, Lord, for the food we have. There are so many who are hungry.

Even though the routine of my job is often monotonous, thank you, Lord, for the opportunity to work.  There are many who have no job.

Even though I grumble and bemoan my fate from day to day and wish my circumstances were not so modest, thank you, Lord, for life.

 
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Posted by on November 28, 2019 in Thanksgiving

 

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How Should I Pray for . . . Others? (A Study of Colossians 1:9-14) Part 10

There are seven specific requests that Paul makes on behalf of the Colossian believers in Colossians 1.  We are studying his prayer in that passage and how committed he was to interceding for them.  I’ve got a lot to learn about praying for others.  And I’ve got a lot of actual praying to do!

We saw Paul’s strategic commitment to pray for them in 1:9 and then began noticing the specific content of his prayer in verses 9-12. His prays that they would be filled with a knowledge of God’s will (v. 9), that they would live a life worthy of the Lord (v. 10), that they would bear fruit in every good work (v. 10), and that they would grow in the knowledge of God (v. 10). He also prays that they would get strong in living out the Christian life (v. 11) and endure when life gets rough (v. 11).

Could one ask for a more in-depth, profound, specific, intentional prayer than that?!  But Paul has one more request for these believers and it is that they would —

G. Live Joyfully with a Thankful Heart (v. 12)

He specifically prays that they would be “giving joyful thanks to the Father.”  Not just “thanks” in general.  But joyful thanks.

I’ve recently looked at the issue of a thankful heart and found the following verses challenging:  “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” (Col. 3:15)  “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” (Col. 4:2)  “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our ‘God is a consuming fire.’” (Heb. 12:28-29)

Thankfulness is a key to living out the Christian life — and Paul wants these Colossian Christians to be joyfully thankful!  When I think of thanks that isn’t joyful, I can’t escape the picture of an young boy who get pajamas from his grandmother for Christmas, instead of a toy.  He thanks her, but it’s not joyful thanks, is it?

We’ve seen in these rich, deep, prayer requests that Paul cares deeply for these believers.  And he wants them to grow strong and mature in their walk with Jesus.

We have one more section to look at in Paul’s prayer (in our next post), but let me challenge you with a quote from Daniel Yankelovich, a public opinion analysis and social scientist who said,

It is spiritual healthy for you and me to focus on the deep practical needs of others.  [I’ve just prayed for someone I love to “live joyfully with a thankful heart.”  Your turn.]  (to be continued)

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 19, 2018 in praying for others

 

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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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Thanksgiving Cartoon #3: A Matter of Perspective!

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Linda and I have found great encouragement in following Ann Voskamp’s FirefoxScreenSnapz137blog aholyexperience.com.

She emphasizes being thankful — please check it out!

 
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Posted by on November 28, 2013 in aholyexperience.com

 

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Thanksgiving Cartoon #2: Being Thankful!

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What are you most thankful for this Thanksgiving? ____________________________________________

 
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Posted by on November 27, 2013 in family prayer

 

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Thanksgiving Cartoon: “Want to make a wish?”

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Question:  If you could have one wish for Thanksgiving, what would it be?

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2013 in cartoons

 

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