Summary: Just as Paul was vigilant in his habit of praying for believers everywhere, so too we can use his powerful prayer passage to pray for others to lead lives worthy of the Lord, to bear fruit, to grow in the knowledge of God, to endure with patience and to j
Oct. 14, 2001
How to Pray with Power
Good morning! Several weekends ago I experienced a tremendously traumatic event. I was stung by a bee. Maxine had gone to the church to lead worship practice. I had stayed at home with the kids because Austin was not feeling well. Josh and I had just finished breakfast and we let the dog ( our killer poodle) back in the house. In doing so, we also let in a bee. I explained to Joshua that I am allergic to bee stings and that if I ever got stung I may have to go the hospital. I could not find the fly swatter so I did what any manly man would do - I knock him right out of the air! About half an hour later I was cleaning the kitchen and walked into the dining room to get the paper towels and stepped on something. I immediately recognized that I had stepped on the bee - the dead bee. It had stung me and I began to do what any manly man would do. I yelled and screamed and ran all around the house. I woke Austin up and Joshua turned white as a sheet. I called Maxine at the church and told her what happened. Joshua got on the phone and said "Mommy, get off the phone right now! I have to call 911 and get daddy an ambulance! Now do what I say! "Needless to say, I did survive thanks to Dr. Wong. There is a point to this story.
We have an enemy and he is a defeated bee. Just a chapter farther in Colossians we read -- "When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made us alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross." Col 2:13-15. But he still has a stinger. Peter calls him a "roaring lion looking for someone to devour." (1 Peter 5:8). One of the ways that Satan uses his stinger is by distorting the Word of God. John 8:44 says "he is a liar and the father of lies." In the church at Colosse, Satan had used individuals to confuse the people about doctrine. This is one of the primary reasons for Paul’s concern.
As Pastor Brian pointed out last week, people were claiming to have special knowledge (later known as Gnostics). They were the "in crowd." Also, some were advocating adhering to strict Jewish rules, worship of angels, and mistreatment of the body. It is with these serious distortions in mind that Paul powerfully prays for this church.
The first eight verses comprise the introduction. As we learned last week, Paul thanks God for the Colossians themselves - for their faith hope and love. He is thankful for the Gospel that is bearing fruit. And he is especially thankful for Epaphras, "our dear fellow servant and a faithful minister," the pastor of the church who has brought a report to Paul concerning their "love in the Spirit." Now this leads Paul, as it does in so many of his other letters, to prayer.