- 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 the second part of a message preached by Brother Easton. This introduction is repeated from Part One)
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.
In Part One of this Series the following were presented:
A. Pray That They May Know the Purpose of God:
Look at verse 9, “and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;”
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
This Devotion, Part Two, resumes with the following:
C. Pray That They Will Live Productive Lives:
The lives we live as Christians are to be productive. Look at verse 10: “being fruitful in every good work.”
Now listen to me. You and I will produce some kind of fruit in our lives. We will either bear good fruit or evil fruit. To bear fruit implies some kind of involvement. Now let me ask you. In the years you have lived, as you look back, what has your life produced? You may not want to think about that; but you and I need to think about it. Paul prayed their lives would be productive. There is a reason you are here on earth. You were not placed on this earth just to take up space. Jesus Christ came to this earth to live His life in us, and through us, to produce His good works on this earth.
Read Ephesians 2:10, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” This means, which God prepared in advance for us to do. The normal, natural Christian life is a life of fruit-bearing. It isn’t in our effort that we are Christians. If Christ is at the center of our lives, it is He who is bearing fruit.
Let me ask you: What is the fruit of your life? What do you look around and see that is the result of your having lived all these years? Notice Paul says, that you may bear fruit in “every good work.” How do you bear fruit in every good work? You allow the Lord Jesus Christ, who is living His life within you, to do it in His strength and His power.
Your conduct, your conversation, and your character, are the fruit of your life. If we continue to live our lives as we are living them – Will the return on our lives be everything we want it to be? Will the return be only in temporal things? Or will the return be in eternal things?
We had better get on with investing our lives to bear fruit in every good work. Nothing would please Satan more than to get us off-track from what God wants us to do with our lives.
D. Pray That They Will Grow in The Personal Knowledge of God:
If I were guessing, I would say that very few people, when they are setting goals for their lives, set a goal to know God better every day. Listen, all worldly goals should look less attractive when compared to the goal of knowing God. Yes, it is important to set goals. I do that. But all of them seem insignificant when I compare them to the goal of knowing God better today than I knew Him yesterday, and to know Him better this year than I knew Him last year. There can be no greater goal for the Christian.
If I did not know you, and I wanted to know you better, you and I would have to share our joys and our hurts – share how we feel about certain things. The more we shared with each other, the more intimate we would become in our friendship and fellowship with each other. Before you know it, we would know how the other one felt about something before it would come about.
Did you know that God wants to build an intimate relationship with you and me? The world does not understand what we are talking about when we say, “Knowing God.” The way you will grow in your closeness to God tomorrow is to obey Him today. Obey Him again and again. As we obey Him in the simple things, the more the intimacy grows. If I could only pray one prayer for my family it would be, ‘God give us an increasing knowledge of who You are.’
E. Pray That They Will Be Filled with The Power of God:
Look at verse 11, “Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;”
The Greek word for “strengthened” is the word “dunamas.” In other words, we have God’s power. He says it again in “all might.” When the power of God is living in us, it gives us not only power for living, but also power of influence.
The only way we can live our lives in a way that is both productive, and praiseworthy, is through God’s power. We can’t live in this world in our own strength. It is impossible, because God never intended for us to live that way. Paul’s prayer for the believers of Colosse was that they would live in God’s power to have great patience and longsuffering.
When things are going well, we don’t see a great urgency for this kind of prayer. Sometimes we act as though that we don’t need God, until things begin to fall apart. Then we need God to give us the power to patient. The time to pray this prayer is not when things get tough and out of control. We need to pray this prayer before everything goes haywire. That way we will be ready with God’s power.
What would happen if we prayed every single day for someone to experience the living Power of God in his or her life: ‘Lord, today I want my friend to be strengthened with all power according to Your glorious might so that he/she might have great patience and longsuffering.” Why do you think Paul used the words patience and longsuffering?
Here’s the reason. Paul knew the Colossian Christians lived in a heathen society just like we do. What would happen if we prayed for someone to experience the super-natural power of God for patience and longsuffering? The Greek word used for “patience” means “to bear up under the weight and pressure of a given situation and not give in regardless of what is going on.” Patience and longsuffering mean hanging in there without revenge or retaliation when someone is persecuting you.
Every person reading this is going through some sort of difficulty. What would happen if all of us had someone reading this passage and calling our name? It would be a great prayer. If you are walking in the center of God’s will, you are going to catch it from all sides. If you think the world is going to do backflips in joy because you are trying to live your life for Christ, you have another think coming. This is why we need super-natural power in our lives. This is why we cannot live our lives successfully without Christ living in us. Paul says God wants us to pray for someone that the power of the Holy Spirit within that person’s life will equip him or her to live their life victoriously.
Friends, I know a lot of people who need this prayer prayed for them. This is what intercessory prayer is all about. If we all prayed this prayer for someone daily – The world would be changed. The church would be changed. You would be changed. We would each be changed more and more into the person God wants us to be.
This is a prayer that can change lives.
Would you pray this prayer for me? Ask someone to pray it for you. “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;” 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. That you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might; so that you may have great patience and longsuffering, and joy. Always 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.