One of the greatest gifts you can give to someone is the gift of praying for them. However, how should we pray for them? Certainly we want to pray for their health, their marriage, their family, and things like this. But is there something deeper, something more important that we should be praying about for them? The apostle Paul answers this for us in Colossians 1:9, “For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.” What exactly does this mean? Paul then launches into what it means in the verses that follow. Before diving into this, I believe that what follows is something that we should pray for one another on a daily basis. Pastors and other leaders, we should lead our churches to pray this for one another and the church as a whole. So, how should we pray for one another as individuals, and how should we pray for the church as a whole?
- Know God’s will and how to live it out. Paul wants us to know God’s will for us as individuals, but He also wants us to understand how to live it out. This includes learning how to discern between good things and what God wants for you. This can sometimes be difficult if we don’t have others praying along with us.
- Live worthy of God’s calling. We live in a fallen world that is full of temptations both outside of us as well as inside of us. Therefore, we need to pray that our brothers and sisters will be strong in the grace of God, and rely on the Holy Spirit to run from temptation so that we don’t fall into sin. As a Christian, we are called to represent Jesus Christ to the world. We need to pray that we will do this.
- Be fruitful. A life that is rooted in Jesus will be evident by the fruit in our life. The fruit specifically in mind is the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, goodness, and self-control. If we are relying on the Holy Spirit and growing in our relationship with God, we will also be growing in these things, because God will be growing them in us by working His will out through us.
- Be strengthened in the faith through trials. This sounds really strange, but it is vital for a Christian’s maturity. God grows us through difficult seasons in life. The problem is, when we are faced with a tough time in life, we typically ask God to remove it from us. This leads us to resist and pray that God remove what He intends to use to grow our faith in Him deeper and stronger. This doesn’t mean that anyone prays for tough times. Rather, it helps us to understand how a good, loving God can allow difficult times to come into our life. What we go through is not only to strengthen our faith, but it can also be used by God to reach others with the Gospel. Therefore, we should pray that we will be faithful to God through the trials of life, and that He would be glorified in our suffering well.
- Be thankful in all things. One of the most important attributes a Christian can have is thankfulness. We should be thankful for all things, because they are from God. This comes as we remember that God is in control. The biggest thing we should be grateful for is our salvation. This is the greatest gift we can ever receive. But we should also remember that “every good gift and perfect gift is from above.” Our life, health, job, and everything else is a blessing from God.
What could God do in our life and the life of others if we began to pray like this for one another? I believe that God would do a lot in us, and in our churches if we prayed with spiritual eyes, desiring what God wants for our life and for His church. Would you commit to pray for these things for yourself and those in your church? I want to challenge those reading this, to commit to it for at least the last 14 days of November. God may not change our circumstances, but He will change what He desires to, He will change us.
By His grace and for His glory,