If you ever want to pray a prayer for a fellow Christian but are not sure how to do it, and you want to go beyond a simple, “bless so-and-so,” you don’t have to look any further than the prayers of Paul. Time and again in his letters, he gives us wonderful models of how to pray for others according to God’s will.
We see one of those models here in Colossians chapter 1. Paul had apparently never met these Colossians, but had only heard of them and their faith in Christ through a man named Epaphras. But when Paul heard about the fruit that was born in their hearts through the gospel, he rejoiced. More, he prayed for them a very specific prayer. What did he pray for?
First, he prayed that God would fill them with the knowledge of His will with all wisdom and understanding. That is something that we all need as Christians. Why?
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. (10)
If we want to please God and bear fruit for him, then we need to know his will in our lives. And as he fills us with his wisdom and understanding, we start to understand who he himself is. We understand how he thinks. We understand what is important to him. In short, we come to truly know him, not just about him, particularly as he imparts his power into our lives. That’s why Paul prays that they would be,
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. (11-12)
God doesn’t want us to live this Christians life based on our own strength. Many people go through trials with endurance and patience, but no joy. Why? Because they are resting on their own strength, not God’s. But Paul’s prayer is not that the Colossians would patiently endure their trials in their own strength. Rather, he prays that God’s power would fill them so that they could not only endure, but do so with joy.
That each day, they would focus not on themselves, but on God. To remember that all they have as Christians is not based on their own efforts, but on what God has done. For he is the one who qualified us to share in his inheritance, not us.
Not only that,
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. (13-14)
Again, all the work is of him. He rescued us from out of darkness. He brought us into the kingdom of his Son. And it is in Christ, not ourselves, that we have redemption, the forgiveness of sin.
Yet many Christians forget that. And because we do so, we start trying to live on our own wisdom and strength, and in the process, lose our joy.
But when we are filled with his wisdom, knowledge, and power, when we remember all that Christ has done for us and that all we have comes from him and not ourselves, then we find joy.
So as you pray for your Christian family members, friends, and other brothers and sisters in Christ, don’t just pray a general, “God bless them.” Pray as Paul did for the Colossians.
And pray that God would do these things in you as well.
How are you praying?