“The Purpose of Prayer"- Col 1:9-14

This Week’s Core Practice:  Giving Away My Faith- I give away my faith to fulfill God's purposes.

Ephesians 6:19, 20 Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

Scripture: Col 1:9-14

“For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:9-14(NIV)
 

Introduction:

Sometimes we want to pray for another person but aren’t sure what to say. If you’ve ever been confused about how to intercede for someone, Paul’s prayer in Colossians is appropriate for every person and every situation. Because it aligns perfectly with God’s will, you can ask these requests with confidence—both for yourself and for others:

To be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding. Not only do we need to know God’s plan for our lives; we also require discernment to distinguish His guiding voice from our own self-directed notions.

To walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, pleasing Him in all ways. Our lives should be patterned after the One we follow, with a goal of glorifying Him.

To bear fruit in every good work. Instead of being wrapped up in our own jobs, possessions, pleasures, and plans, we should be contributing to others’ lives.

To increase in the knowledge of God. By reading His Word and applying it to our lives, we will gain a deeper understanding of the Lord.

To be strengthened with His power so we remain steadfast. The Christian life can be lived only with the Holy Spirit’s power.

To joyously give thanks for all God has done for us. Believers should be characterized by joy and gratitude.

Too often we focus our requests on temporal needs and miss the deeper spiritual work God wants to do. Imagine how effective your prayers will be if you’ll shift the emphasis of your petitions to the Lord’s desires. He will transform you and the people for whom you intercede.

From Charles Stanley, In Touch Ministries

The Message of this Passage:

...so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work... (Col. 1:10)

 

Ray Stedman in his daily devotional wrote: As Paul continues this prayer for the Colossians, he mentions activities that believers can deliberately choose to do. This is very instructive not only for how to pray for others, but also for how to live our own lives. First, Paul prays that you may “live a life worthy of the Lord.” When you understand what God has made you to be, that you are his child, cherished by him, your guilt and sin taken care of, and that God is your loving Father who protects you, guides and guards you, and when you see him in all his majesty and beauty then you will become concerned about whether your behavior reflects his beauty, and what others will think of your God when they are watching you. That is “a life worthy of the Lord.” In others of his letters the apostle urges Christians to “walk worthy of their calling.” We are to be concerned about our impact upon others, how our lives are impacting theirs, and what our actions make them think about our God.

The second activity that Paul prays for is that they might seek “to please him in every way.” The chief aim of every believer ought to be that he is pleasing to God; that he seeks to live in a way that delights God. What quality of life is pleasing to God? The Scripture probably puts it most effectively in a negative way. In the book of Hebrews we are told, “Without faith it is impossible to please God!” Faith is what pleases him. Every time Jesus approved or commended people it was because of their faith. “You have great faith,” he said to the woman who pled with him to heal her flow of blood. “Your faith is great,” he said to a centurion who asked him to heal his servant. Whenever our Lord commends people for anything it is because they believe him and act on what he says. They don't conform to the customs of people around. Rather, they swim against the stream of life and stand firmly upon what he says, trusting him. That is what pleases God.

Here is the third activity Paul prays for: “bearing fruit in every good work.” The “fruit,” always and everywhere in Scripture, is the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, and peace, in our relationships and actions regarding others; concern, compassion, encouragement, and help in a time of stress, bringing a word of peace into a troubled, hostile atmosphere. “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.” That is what Paul is talking about: “bearing fruit in every good work.”

Answering Interpretive Questions:

·      What does this passage say? 

·      What does this passage mean? 

·      What is God telling me? 

·      How am I encouraged and strengthened?

·      How can I be changed, so I can learn and grow?

·      What is in the way of my listening to God? 

·      How does this apply to me? What will I do about it? 

·      How do you feel when a salesman misrepresents a product, then you buy it and it does not work? How is this like when we say one thing and do another or behave in a different manner? 

·      What does it take to understand that knowing God is not a onetime event?

·      Why can't goodness and kindness come from an ungrateful heart or flow from a will to just do it? 

·      Is your identity and joy in Christ alone? If not, why not?

·      What is missing from your spiritual formation and growth in Christ? What will you do to fill in the gaps?

Life Application: What are three instructive ways to pray for our own lives and others'? Are we aware of the significance of these prayers in terms of their life-changing effects?

Grant Schweisthal