Last week I wrote how oftentimes people will say to me, “John Ed, please pray for me.” Others sometimes say, “John Ed, how can I pray for you?” It is amazing how Paul begins his pastoral letters by sharing the importance of praying for each other.
I was reading this morning the opening chapter to Colossians. Paul immediately begins with a positive affirmation of what he hears about the people at Colossi. He then goes on to say in verse 9, “For this reason since the day we heard it, we have not ceased to pray for you.” Again he shares how he will pray for them.
1. …That “you may be filled with a knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.” v. 9 It is very important in life to know that God has a specific will for each of us, and that we center our lives in the middle of His will for us. That makes us extremely special. We must know His will. That requires wisdom and spiritual understanding. Paul never ceased to pray for you and me and the people of Colossi to know God’s will for our lives.
2. …That “you may walk worthy of the Lord fully pleasing Him.” v. 11 For Paul the Christian faith was not something that we simply talk about, but something that we do. He always had a strong application to everyday life. He prays that we might know God’s will, but then that we may walk worthy of the Lord fully pleasing Him. Paul was one who always emphasized the fact that we should talk the talk, but more importantly we should walk the walk. The ultimate desire is to please Him. Our cause is not to please people, but to please God.
3. …That “you be fruitful in every good work.” v. 10 For Paul the evidence of walking worthy of the Lord and being in His will is the fruit that is produced. The important thing about a peach tree is not how big it is or pretty it looks or how many limbs it has – but how many peaches is it producing? May we all pray earnestly for each other that we might be fruitful in doing God’s will.
4. …That “you increase in the knowledge of God.” v. 10 For Paul the Christian faith was always a process by which we are growing. If we ever become stagnant, we die. He was always interested in seeing that our knowledge of God would be constantly growing. John Wesley always had such a high emphasis on “moving towards perfection.” We must be growing and increasing in the right direction.
5. …That “you are strengthened with all might according to His glorious power.” v. 11 It is so important to remember the source of our strength. We should do the best we can to be educated and acquire skills, but the effective fruit bearing is when we are strengthened by God and His power. One of the tough lessons I have always had to learn is that I want to try to do things on my own strength – that is why I fail so often. Paul reminded the people at the church of Corinth in II Corinthians 12:9, 10, “That God’s power is perfected in weakness, and it is in weakness that we can experience strength.” When I realize how weak I am, it is then that I can be open to all the power that God has to give to me.
6. …That “you have all patience and longsuffering with joy.” v. 11 Since growth in the Christian faith is a lifelong process, it requires patience. When we do not seem to experience the kind of growth that we think we should have, or we encounter a lot of obstacles, remember we are on God’s agenda. What we consider stumbling blocks, He uses as stepping stones to accomplish His will. For that reason He says that we should pray for each other to have the joy of the longsuffering and patience that is required.
7. …That “you give thanks to the Father.” Our prayer for each other ought to always begin and end with thanksgiving. It is to God’s glory that we live. Only He can qualify us to be “partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.” Thanks be to God.
So praying for each other has unbelievable possibilities for strengthening our relationships with each other and with God. Let us pray that
1. we are filled with the knowledge of God’s will
2. our walk is pleasing to Him
3. we are fruitful
4. every day we are increasing in knowledge
5. we are strengthened by His power for patience
6. we joyfully develop patience and longsuffering
7. we constantly give thanks to God
Let’s pray for each other!