Summary: Prayer serves many purposes in our lives. The best purpose may be that prayer changes our focus, but prayer also changes our actions
The Purpose of Prayer
Intro: We are in week 2 of a 3 week series on prayer. Last week we looked at the priority of prayer and the need for a focus and worship of Christ as we approach him in prayer. I issued you a challenge of spending 15 minutes each morning focusing your mind and heart on Christ. I hope you were able to use that to start your day and that it will become part of the routine of life.
Today we are going to look at another prayer of Paul and the effect that he sought for the people of Colosse and for us.
Prayer serves many purposes in our lives. The best purpose, however, may be that prayer changes our focus as we talked about last week, but prayer also changes our actions.
E. M. Bounds said:
“The secret of success in Christ’s kingdom is the ability to pray.”
E. M. Bounds
“Purpose in Prayer”
Today we want to look at principles that will give us success in our walk with Christ.
“For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:9-14(NIV)
“For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.” Colossians 1:9
Paul begins by speaking of being filled with the “knowledge of his will spiritual wisdom and understanding.”
This lays a foundation of purpose for the life of the believer. No longer are we to rely on our own wisdom and our own knowledge, but we have a new source of understanding.
Spiritual wisdom and understanding helps us to live beyond ourselves.
We become filled with the desire for deeper things and more important meanings in life. We strive to be influenced by the Spirit of God in our actions.
As Paul speaks of this type of knowledge, he is expecting that it will strike at the center of the believer’s life.
The church at Colosse was surrounded by pagan religions that worshipped all types of gods. For some Christians in the town, Christ was being regarded as an add-on figure to their spiritual life. Paul is writing to them and establishes at the beginning a foundation of knowledge, wisdom and understanding that flows through Christ.
As Eugene Peterson points out,
“Paul writes to them (Colossians) in an attempt to restore Jesus, the Messiah, to the center of their lives.” The Message Commentary
The knowledge of the will of God leads us to a purpose of a life devoted to God.
“ And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God” Colossians 1:10
Paul prays that the spiritual wisdom and understanding will impact the life of the believer.
“A life worthy of the Lord” means the believer acts in a manner appropriate of a child of God.
The knowledge of God has an impact on our actions.
It changes us because we view Christ as central and of priority in our lives. We now live to please God and not ourselves.
Paul points this out in his letter to the church in Galatia.
“My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit. Then you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness.”
Galatians 5:16(The Message)
The bottom line of all sin is selfishness.
Paul calls us to live life directed by God’s Spirit not our own.
The practice of living for Christ enables us to produce spiritual results from our actions.
“being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience” Colossians 1:11
Paul prays that the Spirit of God would produce patience and endurance in our lives.
Paul prays that we would be strengthened so that we may have patience and endurance.