Summary: Sometimes we wonder how to pray for missionaries and other leaders we have never met. Paul had never met the Colossians, but he faithfully prayed for them. His prayers teach us how to pray for others, whether we know them or not.
COLOSSIANS 1: 9-12
PRAYING FOR OTHERS
Every Christian can minister directly to the spiritual well-being of other believers without seeing or speaking to them. We can play a role in their spiritual growth, and even secure God's blessings for them. Intercessory pray accomplishes amazing things and it’s within the grasp of any of us.
Any Christian can intercede for others. Though most Christians don’t start out with a strong compulsion to pray for others, it will develop as the Christian grows in the grace and instruction of the Lord.
Each of you in your inner person - your new person in Christ- have a desire to pray for others- and that’s all you need. Others need your prayers if they are going to be all Christ has for them to be. Your pastor, your fellow church members, your family, your friends, and even your enemies need your prayers.
If you are ready to heed God’s call to greater Christian maturity and service by stepping up to the call to stand in the gap for others, our passage today will help. If you are unsure what to pray for others, discover six things that you can always pray for anyone, even an unsaved person.
I. Pray That They Will Know God’s Will For Their Lives, 1:8&9.
Paul prayed for believers who were marked by love that has its origin in the Spirit. Listen as verse 8 lead into verse 9. “And he also informed us of your love in the Spirit. For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,”
Sometimes we wonder how to pray for missionaries and other leaders we have never met. Paul had never met the Colossians, but he faithfully prayed for them. His prayers teach us how to pray for others, whether we know them or not.
The best that people can hope for in this life is to know God’s will and fulfill the purpose He has planned for them. Thus we should ask God to reveal His will and empower them to fulfill it when we pray for others. We ask for them to be filled with the knowledge of His will, which means it would pervade their being - thoughts, affections, purposes, and plans. God desires the knowledge of His will to grasp and penetrate deeply into our lives.
The Apostle Paul set an example of praying that others would know God’s purpose for them. He recognized that knowing God’s will is a spiritual issue and that prayer is needed for people to seek, know, and understand God’s will. Thus he prayed that the people in the church at Colossae would know (have clear discernment) of God’s will, His purpose for life, and for their daily life (practical wisdom).
II. Pray That They Would Do God’s Will in Their Lives, 10a.
The second petition in the first part of verse 10 is that after they know God’s will they would choose to live out God’s will. “So that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects.”
God desires us to live a life based on what He has done for us. Paul prayed that people would know God’s will, but he also understood that knowing God’s will did not guarantee doing God’s will. Living a life worthy of the Lord grows out of knowing God’s will. The reason (ἳíá) he prayed that they would know God’s will is so they would do God’s will or walk in a manner worthy of the Lord. He prayed that they would act on what they learned. Only through action does a person fulfill the purpose God has for him. Only as we act on God’s will can we please Him in greater and greater ways. The ultimate aim of knowing God’s will and walking in a worthy manner is to please the Lord.
Our lives should not be guided by expectations from our self or others. We must be guided by the Lord, who redeemed us, called us and has been transforming us so that we are worthy of His name, a name that is above every name. Don’t be trapped into a life of trying to please others, please the Lord.
The people of Paul’s time valued the accumulation of knowledge but Paul points out knowledge in itself is useless - empty. To be worth anything it must lead to a changed life and right living.
It is one thing to know God’s will. It is another thing to be willing to change how we feel about it and accept it. Pray that God would reveal His will for them with clarity and that they would understand it. Also pray that they would accept it. Then pray that God would enable them to change their behavior, so that they would align themselves with God’s will.