Summary: This is an examination of one of the prayers that Paul prayed over the Colossians. It give us insight into how to pray for one another.
September 9, 2001 Colossians 1:9-14
“How to pray to change lives”
Probably everyone here has prayed for someone at some point in your life. You prayed that they would get well or that they would have safety in a trip that they were taking or that they would get a job that they were applying for. Sometimes things worked out as you hoped. Sometimes they didn’t. These prayers were what I would call “emergency” prayers. Some situation arises in someone else’s life or maybe even our own life, and it forces to get down on our knees. As long as the situation is unmet, we stay down on our knees. But as soon as the situation is resolved, we check that off on our list, stop praying for that person and start praying for someone else who is in an emergency situation. So we move from emergency to emergency. We are reactive instead of proactive. We are always on the defense rather than being on offense.
This morning, I want to show you another way. I want to show you a prayer that Paul prayed for the church at Colosse. It is a prayer that will change people. It will accomplish in people’s lives what all your begging, whining, yelling, and nagging will not do. It is a powerful prayer. It is not powerful because of the specific words that are used but because of the subjects of the requests that you make. You can have complete confidence as you prayer that each and every request you make is completely within the will of God for that person. It is not powerful because it is a magical formula, but because God already desires to do these things in the lives of every person. You are only asking for what God already wants to do. It is powerful because you are praying God’s Word back to Him.
Two things that I need to tell you about this prayer. First, this prayer will not change situations. In fact, because of what you are praying for, it may make situations worse than they were to begin with. That may be necessary in order to accomplish what you are asking God to do. And second, this prayer will only be effective as you pray it on a daily basis for a long time. Paul says in vs. 9 of Colossians 1 where we find this prayer that “since the day [he] heard about [them, he] had not stopped praying for [them].” As the ocean was faithful to send the waves to the shore, so Paul was just as faithful to pray this prayer for the believers. It is no quick fix, and you should not expect changes over night. At the same time that God is changing the person you are praying for, He will be changing you and testing you to increase your faith and your faithfulness. He will be testing you to see if you are truly totally dependent on Him to accomplish what you can never accomplish in your own strength. The more change you want to see accomplished, the more time it will take. It takes thousands of years to turn a lump of coal into a diamond.
Having said that, let’s read Paul’s prayer in Colossians 1:9-12. In it, we will discover 5 requests that will change our lives and the lives of people around us.