- How to Pray to Change Lives – Part One
- How to Pray to Change Lives – Part Two
- How to Pray About Your Problems – Part One
- How to Pray About Your Problems – Part Two
- How to Pray About Your Problems – Part Three
- How to Pray About Your Problems – Part Four
- How to Pray to Change Your Attitude – Part One
- How to Pray to Change Your Attitude – Part Two
(Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt from a message preached by Brother Easton.
Because of the length, it is broken into two parts)
Col 1:9-14 “For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; (10) That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; (11) Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; (12) Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: (13) Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: (14) In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:”
“Prayer Changes Things”
That is a statement that many of us are familiar with. Learning to pray can change our lives. However, for that to happen, you will have to apply the information that I share with you to your life. In other words, these messages must become part of your daily life.
We live in a time when lives need to be changed for the good of mankind and the glory of God. Sinners need to become Saints; and Saints need to become more like the Lord Jesus Christ with each passing day.
In the above passage of Scripture, we see a prayer Paul prayed for the Colossian Christians. In this prayer, you and I will find truths; which, if applied, can and will change our lives and the lives of people that are very dear to us. As we study this prayer, I am sure you will want someone to pray such a prayer for you. I know that you will think of someone in your life who needs you to pray such a prayer for them.
The most powerful thing anyone can do for someone else is to pray for them. Because through prayer, you and I can touch the heart of God, who in turn can touch anyone, anywhere, regardless of circumstances.
The power is not in the prayer itself, but in the power that God releases in response to the prayer.
Let me ask you: Is there someone in your life you are praying for everyday? Or is there someone you began praying for, but lately you have slacked off in your prayers for them? Do you believe God is going to change someone’s life because you are praying for him or her?
As we look at Paul’s prayer, I believe it is possible to learn how to pray a prayer that can change the lives of others for their good, and for God’s glory. (Let me insert a thought here: Our prayers to see people’s lives changed should not be motivated by selfish reasons. Sometimes when we pray for someone’s life to be changed, it is more for our benefit than for theirs.)
Prayer has nothing to do with your vocabulary. It does not matter if you use good grammar. And it has nothing to do with how well you feel about your ability to pray. To my knowledge, nowhere in God’s Word are we instructed to pray eloquent prayers. Effective praying has nothing to do how with eloquently we pray.
Effective praying involves praying the Scriptures mixed with faith that God will honor His Word. When we pray the Scriptures, we are in fact praying God’s Word. That is telling God that we are more interested in His will for our lives than we are our will. From Paul’s prayer, we can learn to pray the kind of prayers which release God’s power into our lives, and into the lives of those that we are praying for.
Paul’s prayer is the kind of prayer specifically suited for everyone who reads it, hears it, and understands it. It is the kind of prayer I would like to have all of you praying for me every day.
The Reason We Do Not Have Our Prayers Answered:
Notice verse 9: “For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;”
One of the reasons we do not see God doing big things as a result of our prayers is because we falter at the very first verse of this passage. The reason is because we “cease to pray.” Yes, we do get fired up for a few days. We shake the heavens with our prayers. And about a week later, we forget that prayer because we don’t see the results that we want to see. We have the idea that God is not going to act because He does not meet our schedule the way we want Him to. We sometimes think, ‘I want it done now, God, and if You don’t, I will stop praying.’ At other times, we get caught up in the activities of life. We just get too busy and forget to pray.
Paul said: We have not stopped praying for you, we “do not cease to pray for you.” As consistent as the waves are coming to the shore, so were Paul’s prayers for the saints at Colosse. Just as you can’t stop the waves from coming to the shore, you could not stop the prayers of Paul. This is how we are to pray!
Paul never stopped praying.
If mothers and fathers prayed these specific prayers for their children, they would see dramatic changes in the children. If you prayed this prayer for your employer, you would see a big change in them. Pray this prayer for someone with whom you are having difficulty. Pick someone out and pray this prayer that you want to see God work something special in his or her life.
Paul made five requests for these Saints, which are just as relevant for us today as they were to those Saints then. We will look at two of these requests today; then the other three in the following devotion.
A. Pray That They May Know the Purpose of God:
Look at verse 9 again, “and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.” Paul prayed that they would know God’s will. The Greek word means “to have specific knowledge.”
Listen, if you read the stories of the Old Testament, you will find that God was specific with them. When God told Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac, He did not say, I want you to take a journey with me. He said, (Gen. 22:2) “…Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering…” God gave specific directions which were clear. One of the petitions we should pray for ourselves and those we love is, ‘Lord, give us full knowledge of Your will; not just some sort of an idea, but direct knowledge of Your will for our lives.’ God does not give general directions. He gives precise directions, but they can only be found in the Word of God. Notice Paul says, “in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.”
I have known some Christians who have sought advice from non-Christian counselors about what they should do with their lives. This is totally contrary to what God would have them do. The only way to precisely and fully become what God wants you to become, is to fully and precisely obey what God wants you to do. You cannot obey what you do not know.
Paul says, “in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.” This means to develop the mind of God, to see it from His perspective. This is what we want – not just what is right and wrong – but to see it from God’s perspective.
Yes, the world can give you advice that seems rational and reasonable, but also may be totally opposite of what God wants for your life.
B. Pray That They May Live a Life Praiseworthy of God:
Notice verse 10: “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.”
Some of your Bibles use the word “walk” or “walking.” If the Bible uses the word “walking,” such as walking in the trespasses of sin, or walking with God, it is referring to our lifestyle, our conduct, and our behavior. What does Paul mean when he says, Live a life worthy of the Lord? The word “worthy” means “weight.” So, when Paul prayed, he prayed that their lives would have some substance to it, that their lives would be worthy of their Lord.
Look at the weight of Jesus’ life. Everywhere He went, people were changed, lives were altered. Nothing was ever the same after Jesus was there. Listen, if we are living a life that has no depth, has no character, has no understanding of our relationship to God; a life that is merely gratifying the flesh, a life that is spent instead of being invested – our life has no weight whatsoever.
So, we are to pray that our life would be weighted, that it will have some substance about it. What do you suppose the impact would be on your children if you prayed this prayer for them every day?
One of the problems with our world is that the majority of the people do not care if their lives have any substance to them. Christians are not concerned that their lives are worthy of their relationship to Christ.
In the next post, you will read about the other three requests Paul made for the Saints of his day,
which are just as relevant for us today.