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Paul’s Pattern for our Prayers

Posted by Cinda On April - 23 - 2013

prayer05Colossians 1:9-14 Since my husband’s diagnosis with cancer we have been deeply comforted by the many assurances of prayer from friends near and far. There is no sweeter gift that one can receive. But sometimes we are at a loss as to how to pray in times of uncertainty.

I found this prayer of Paul’s after I had been asked to pray for a friend after he had a very serious heart attack. I felt that my feeble prayer had been ineffective because I didn’t know what to ask God for my friend. This passage is an excellent pattern for our intercession. Here are some things we can ask for that God will be pleased to answer.

1. For understanding of God’s will… Colossians 1:9 Although we can’t know if God will heal our friend or take him home, if He will intervene in a wayward child’s life, a conflict at work or a financial hardship, the Bible is very clear about His intention for all His children, namely our sanctification.  We can always pray that the difficulty another is going through will bring them into a closer relationship with the Lord, a deeper knowledge of His Word and a greater understanding of spiritual truth.  This is a request that is in line with God’s will in any situation.

2. That they might gain spiritual wisdom   Colossians 1:9b Wisdom is the ability to apply what we know to our experience. It has to do with discernment. We need God’s enlightenment as to how our trials can be used to impact our own growth and our witness for our Lord. It is a good thing to pray for others in their time of trial.

3. That they might please and honor God   Colossians 1:10a This is the high calling of all believers.  Instead of asking that others will be happy, we need to concentrate on God’s pleasure instead.  Living a life that pleases God is a goal that God honors and does His part to bring about.

4. That they will bear good fruit. Colossians 1:10b We are not here to “find ourselves” or to get as much out of life as we can.  We are here as followers of Jesus to represent Him and to influence the world for him.  When we pray that others will bear fruit we are praying for both their well being and the advancement of the kingdom of God.

5. That they will grow in the knowledge of God   Colossians 1:10c Unless we know the Lord intimately we will not be able to withstand the temptations and trials that life will bring.  Knowing God is the greatest blessing we can ask for anyone, no matter their circumstances.

6. That they will be filled with God’s strength.  Colossians  1:11a It has been said that the Christian life is a matter of will power: our will and God’s power.  We can pray with confidence that God will give strength to those we pray for to be strong in faith and courage.  Pray that they will not yield to the temptation to be discouraged or become bitter.  Ask God to open His Word to them to show them that He is a  refuge in the storm and a shield and defense against the devil’s attacks.

7. That they will have endurance and patience  Colossians 1:11b When others are going through a difficult time we can pray that they will have patience for the daily challenges, and not give up when things don’t improve immediately, that they will “endure hardship as good soldiers of Jesus Christ”.

8. That they will stay full of God’s joy.  Colossians 1:11c Because 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” we should be extremely grateful for our salvation.  One little boy we knew prayed every night, “Thank you SO much for dying on the cross for my sins.” Asking that our friend or loved one would be aware of the precious gift of spiritual life because of God’s mercy is a wonderful way to enhance our prayers for them.

Next time I wonder what to ask God to do for someone in need, I hope I remember to follow this list.  If someone is praying these things for me, I am deeply grateful. Whether or not God changes the circumstance, He will surely change us in answer to such meaningful intercession.

Author: Barb • CCF Contributor • All Rights Reserved

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