Summary: Prayer is vital to know the purpose of God, to live a life praiseworthy of God, to be productive for God, grow in personal knowledge of God, to be filled with the power of God and to be partakers of God’s grace.
Today’s message is about prayer: “Progress Through Prayer.” Let me ask you this morning, “How many of you have prayed for someone?” Another question, “What motivates you to pray for someone?” (Emergencies such as accidents, sickness, loss of job, death in family, how to handle a pressure packed situation, etc.)
This is one level of praying and it is important. But, there are other levels of praying which are more important. Think about the Lord’s Prayer:
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done
On earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
This is not an emergency prayer.
Well, Paul begins his letter to the Colossians with a prayer. Right after his greeting, Paul tells them how he prays for them everyday in verses 9-14 of chapter one. Paul is praying for their progress.
We must grow as Christians. How tragic it would be if when a baby is born it remained a baby. Growth is desired. Growth is expected. A father was talking with his 5 year old daughter about birthdays. Her birthday was March 30, his was March 27. He said, “My birthday is only three days before yours.” The little girl looked up at him and said, “Yeah, but you grew much faster than me.”
Many of us haven’t grown very fast as Christians. Many are still spiritual “babies.” Someone once described a baby as “a digestive apparatus with a loud noise on one end and no responsibility on the other end.” Yes, there are many of us who need to grow up in the faith. The world does not center around us.
Let’s look at Paul’s Prayer Plan for the Colossian Christians. We’ll look at 6 ways he prayed for them and these can be 6 ways for us to pray for one another.
I. TO KNOW THE PURPOSE OF GOD (9)
Many people are confused about what their purpose on earth really is. They think it has something to do with their job, or their bank balance, or how their kids turn out.
If your job is your purpose in life, what happens when you get fired, laid off or retire? If raising children is your purpose, what happens when you find out you can’t have children, or your children don’t turn out like you planned, or when you lose a child?
Verse 9 says, Paul prayed that they be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and understanding.
Often we go through life with a happy-go-lucky, come what may attitude. Or, selfishly we pick what we think suits us best and go after that only.
-Illus.- There’s a story of an old Scottish woman who went house-to-house across the countryside selling thread, buttons and shoe strings. When she would come to a fork in the road she would toss a stick up in the air and go in the direction it pointed when it landed. One day, however, she was seen tossing the stick up several times. “Why do you toss the stick up so many times,” someone asked. “Because,” she replied, “it keeps pointing to the left and I want to take the road to the right.” She kept tossing the stick until it finally pointed to the right.
Sometimes we treat God like that.
How do we know God’s will? Wisdom and spiritual understanding come through studying God’s Word and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Prayer helps too. I wish that all of you would pray for me like Paul prayed for them – To be filled with the knowledge of God’s will.
Book recommendation: The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren.
Prayer should be directed for us to know the purpose of God, and:
II. TO LIVE A LIFE PRAISEWORTHY OF GOD (10a)
What does Paul mean when he says, “that you may walk worthy of the Lord?”
The word, “worthy” means “weight” (spell it). He is saying that their lives would be weighty or have substance. He doesn’t mean that they would pig out at the buffet. He wanted them to have a godly presence about them.
Jesus was a weighty person. There was an aura about Him. He carried “weight.” When he walked into a room the room was impacted.
Do you pray for others this way? That so-and-so would walk worthy that others would see the love of Christ in their face; that when they show up on the scene hearts would be warmed, peace would come to a room full of pain; that smiles would be put on faces and hope in hearts.