THE POWER OF PRAYER
For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.
Would it make a difference in a sister’s life or ministry today if you took some time out of your day to lift her up in prayer? On the other hand, how blessed would you be to know that you had women interceding on your behalf?
I can tell you as I continue to transition in this new season of ministry on the East Coast; I deeply appreciate the friends who drop me a note to ask me how they can be praying for me.
Imagine the Colossians who were benefiting from the ongoing prayers of the apostle Paul. His requests to God made on their behalf were anything but generic and random. Though the Colossians were demonstrating faith and love, Paul focused on praying for further spiritual growth.
J.Hampton Keathley contributes some great thought here:
Paul’s prayers are tremendously instructive and often stand as a rebuke to the way many Christians pray. These prayers are not only brief and explicit, but they are spiritually strategic in nature. They center on the great spiritual issues facing individual believers and the body of Christ as a whole. The Christian life is a spiritual warfare (Eph. 6:10-18), and our prayer life should illustrate this by the way we pray. In war or military combat, the objectives usually fall into three areas: the strategic (the primary and essential objectives), the tactical (the more immediate, less long range operations), and the logistic (distribution of supplies, men, and material, etc.). Today, the prayer life of many Christians centers primarily on logistics, on health and wealth issues. By contrast, Paul’s prayers focus mostly on the strategic and the tactical.
We know from 2 Corinthians 5:9 that Paul made it the ambition of his life to please God.
Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.
How beautiful and complete is his supplication to God as he brings his prayers in line with a life that pleases God.
Paul covers the Colossians in four key areas:
THE WILL OF GOD
That you may be filled with the knowledge of His will (Colossians 1:9)
Paul prayed that they would know and do the will of God. Can you think of anything more important? It is vital that Christians are living out the purpose and plan that God has for their life. We are tempted on a daily basis to veer to the right or to the left and we want to please God by being in the center of His perfect will for our lives.
BEARING FRUIT AND GROWING
Being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God (Colossians 1:10)
John 15 teaches us the important connection between abiding and being fruitful. Paul understood that to pray for fruitfulness was to also pray for a deeper knowledge of Christ. In every work Paul desired that the Colossians would be fruitful – whether that was in growing in the character of Christ or in using their gifts to faithfully serve Him. Often we can put the “doing” of the ministry ahead of the “sitting at Christ’s feet” and miss out on the supernatural overflow of His life pouring out of us into the lives of others.
Strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power (Colossians 11:11)
With a record number of Christians growing battle weary, how much more do we need prayers for spiritual strength? Ministry was never meant to be accomplished in the energy of our flesh, but in the power of the Spirit. Resurrection power for the believer is always available to rise above the difficult trials and challenges when they admit their complete and utter need for God.
The Holy Spirit indwells in us to empower us. His gifting and spiritual manifestations are to allow us to demonstrate and participate in His divine power. It is power to live, to forgive; to love, to be an example, to be a witness for Jesus and to walk victoriously over sin, bondage and oppression.
AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE
Giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance (Colossians 1:12)
An attitude of gratitude will always keep us moving forward in our faith. As we remember and meditate upon the greatness of our inheritance and Christ’s sacrifice, we continually thank our heavenly Father for our redeemed lives. How often do we find ourselves whining and complaining as we quickly forget the many benefits that are ours in Christ. Verses 13 and 14 sum it up so well:
He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.
It is important to understand that our enemy is indeed a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. We all experience conflict, illness, hardships, and spiritual weakness; these are all occasions when the enemy sets out to prey upon our vulnerability. The strategic prayers of the saints at these moments protect us and sustain us to live in victory. May we be like Paul, never ceasing to pray for one another!
Who can you pray for today? Use this directed prayer of Paul in Colossian’s to intercede for those the Spirit places on your heart.
I have highlighted Psalm 103 in my Bible and nicknamed it “an attitude of gratitude”. Take some time this week to meditate on these truths and bless the Lord for all His benefits.
We can also use Paul’s prayer to examine our hearts to see if we are living to please God and walking worthy of our callings. Dig deeper into these 4 areas Paul uses in his prayer to identify any struggles you might be encountering in your walk. I have given you a few questions to get you started.
- Am I walking in the perfect will of God?
- Am I growing in wisdom from His Word?
- Am I being fruitful both in serving the Lord and becoming more like Him?
- Am I tired and worn out from serving?
- Have I been serving in His power or my own?
- Am I waking up grateful and thankful each day, or whining and complaining?
Take time to pray and ask God to help you in any area where you need His help. Call a friend and ask her to pray with you and for you!