Summary: Our prayers can be more powerful if we model them after prayers such as this one from the Bible.
March 16, 2003 Colossians 1:9-14
“I pray for you”
What does it do for you when someone says, “I pray for you”? A missionary and his family were forced to camp outside on a hill. They were carrying money and they were fearful that thieves might rob them. After spending time in prayer, they finally fell asleep. Several months later, a man that had been injured was taken to the mission hospital. He asked the missionary if on that special night they had soldiers guarding them. The man said to him, “We intended to rob you, but we were afraid of the twenty-seven soldiers.”
When the missionary returned to his homeland, he shared this story with his church. One of the members responded, “We had a prayer meeting that night, and I took roll. There were just twenty-seven of us present.”
I think that all of us would agree at least with mental and verbal assent that there is great power in prayer. Some of you though may have never seen anything happen as a result of your prayers. Your prayers seem to lack power. Part of the reason for that may be because you really don’t know how to pray. This morning, we are going to look at the prayer that Paul prayed for the Colossian Christians. It is a powerful prayer, and I can guarantee that everything in it is completely within the will of God. God had a desire to do the things Paul asked for in the lives of the Colossians. God has a desire to accomplish these things in the lives of the people that you pray for. God has a desire to accomplish these things in your life.
We’re going to look at 4 keys to praying powerful prayers as they are found in Colossians 1:8-14. We’re not going to spend a lot of time – at least not as much as we normally do looking at this passage. I’m going to explain it in the clearest and most concise terms I know how, and then, we’re going to put it into practice. So pay attention. You’re going to be using what you hear before you leave this morning.
1. Prayer is powerful when it has the right duration. “not stopped praying”
First response – “since the day we heard”
- Everything that Epaphras told Paul about what was going on a Colossae was positive. People were getting saved; the church was stong. Yes, there were some dangers on the horizon, but there was no immediate threat. Things were good at Colossae. Even in that type of positive situation, Paul’s first response was to pray for them.
- I imagine that many if not all of you have spent a considerable amount of time in prayer. We are quick to get down on our knees and pray when there is some type of crisis whether that crisis be personal or national.
- Did you ever think that if prayer was our first response to every situation and every person that we encounter in our lives that we might actually end up preventing much of the crises that we face? That’s exactly what Paul was trying to do here – he was praying for them that they would stay strong so that they would not have to face a theological crisis and have to deal with its consequences.
Enduring practice – “not stopped praying”
A preacher was once holding a revival in an old tent. One night a man walked in an old shirt and cut off overalls. When the altar call was given he walked down the aisle and got saved. After he finished praying, the preacher asked him, "sir what was it that I said in my message that caused you to come and get saved?" The gentleman looked at the preacher and said, "I hope you’re not offended at me for saying this but I don’t remember a word you said." The preacher then asked him, "why did you get saved then?" The man began to tell his story. "I left home when I was 17. I had a Christian mother. As I was preparing and getting ready to leave, my mother took a piece of paper and on that paper she wrote, "son wherever you may go, remember mother is praying for you." Not noticing the note I closed my suitcase and went to Chicago. The first thing I saw when I opened my suitcase was that note from my mother. It made me mad to think that my mother was doing all the praying for me. God was really dealing with me. But I took a pencil and beneath her words I wrote, "may God curse your prayers." My mother died 9 years ago, and later on I moved back to Oklahoma. I was setting on my porch with no thought of God whatsoever. But then I started to hear you sing. All of a sudden them words of my mother who has been gone for so long now, begin to ring in my ear. "Son wherever you may go, remember mother is praying for you." I got up and began to walk toward the tent so I could hear what you were you singing. You were singing, "What can wash away my sins, nothing but the Blood of Jesus. What can make me whole again, nothing but the Blood of Jesus! O! Precious is the flow, that makes me white as snow, no other fount I know, nothing but the Blood of Jesus!" - Jack Coe told this story while preaching the message, "Detours On The Road To Hell!"