In times like these more than ever, we need to “fuel” ourselves with God’s Word and pray like never before.
Colossians 1 includes a prayer that Paul wrote concerning his desire for the believers in the church at Colossae. We can learn some balance for our lives by observing the purpose for prayer that Paul reveals and the petitions that Paul brings on behalf of the believers.
Look at Colossians 1:9a – “For this cause, we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you….” What “cause” is he referring to? What is the purpose of his prayer for them? Paul was encouraged by the faith and love these believers had shown (vs. 4). They were living out the hope of the inheritance that they would one day receive in Heaven (vs. 5). He was encouraged by the fruit that was being displayed in their lives (vs. 6) and it led him to pray for these believers with unceasing prayer.
Interesting to me that it wasn’t persecution, difficulty, or struggle in the lives of these believers that was the purpose behind Paul’s prayer. It was, instead, seeing believers living faithfully before their God.
Do we only pray when things are bad in our lives? Or do we find many occasions in our lives to praise God and bring petitions to Him because of observing and serving alongside faithful believers?
Maybe our spiritual fuel crisis begins at the point of the purpose of our prayers. Don’t get me wrong…we should pray when things are difficult. But if that is the ONLY time we are praying, our spiritual lives are completely out of balance.
What petitions does Paul bring to the Lord in prayer for the believers in the church at Colossae? Look with me at Colossians 1:9b-12.
I see five petitions here in this prayer. Let’s look at them together.
1. Paul prayed the people would be “filled with the knowledge of his will."
Paul knew the Colossians needed to know God in order to follow His will, and the same is true of any believer today. We need to be in God’s Word seeking to know Him more each day. And we need to be praying that for ourselves and for those in our sphere of influence. We won’t love and serve God as we ought if we don’t first know Him for Who He is. To know Him is to love Him! What are you doing to increase your knowledge of God? Have you prayed about this need in your life recently?
4. Paul prayed the people would have “all patience, and longsuffering with joyfulness.”
When we get weary in the fight, we often are short on patience, longsuffering, and joy, are we not? Paul knew that these things are necessary for the believers, and they only come from the Lord. This shortlist sounds like a portion of Paul’s list of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23. These character traits are developed by the Spirit in our lives. We must be relying on God’s strength and be submitted to the Spirit to allow Him to produce these qualities in our lives. I’ve heard people say not to pray for patience because God always answers that one by making us wait! But the truth is, we need to be praying that however God deems necessary that He would develop these qualities in our lives and the lives of those we love.
5. Paul’s last petition was really giving praise to the Father on behalf of these people.
Paul finished his prayer with a point of praise to the Father for doing these things in the lives of the people he was praying for. When God developed knowledge, a fruitful walk, spiritual strength, endurance, and self-restraint with joy in the lives of the people Paul was praying for, he gave thanks for that and encourages us to do the same.
God wants to “fuel” us by His majestic power to do the work He has called each of us to do. The access point for that fueling is a prayer that starts with the right purpose and focuses on the things we need Him to develop in our lives.
Paul shared this prayer years ago and amazingly the price to read it and heed it has never gone up. This “fuel” is free to any who are God’s children and are seeking to draw closer to Him. Maybe we need to adjust our focus away from the struggles of today and instead to a new purpose in our petitions to the Heavenly Father.
How are you being intentional about “fueling” yourself with God’s Word and prayer today?
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