Friday, March 17, 2006

Colossians 1:9-14

Col. 1:9-14
For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, [10] so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; [11] strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously [12] giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. [13] For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, [14] in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

The Apostle Paul was a man with an outstanding prayer life. His life was incredibly busy and difficult yet he made time to be an effective intercessor for God's people. Paul understood that the most important and powerful thing any of us can do is to pray. From reading Paul's writings it is evident that he spent a tremendous amount of time in prayer. He was a man with a very long prayer list! I am convinced that if Paul were standing before you this morning he would exhort you to follow his example. In fact, in Paul's letter to first letter to Timothy, he wrote, “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone."

Clearly Paul taught and exemplified that we in the church should pray for one another. The question before us this morning is we will follow Paul's example and teaching by effectively praying for one another? To do anything less would be disobedience. To do anything less is sin.

Some of you may be questioning if failing to pray for each other is really sin. In 1 Samuel 12:23, Samuel said to Israel, As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you. So you see, failing to pray for each other is sin. It is sin against the Lord and one another. Folks, whenever we fail to do what we know we ought to do it is sin. In fact, James 4:17 says, Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins.

Should we pray for one another? Absolutely! If we want to please God we will. If we want to see each other grow in faith and maturity we will pray for each other.

Now let’s talk about some practical tips you can use to begin effectively praying for each other. Effective prayer needs to be consistent prayer. How can you make this an intentional reality? First, make an appointment with God every day to pray. Schedule it or else you will not do it. I know you are busy. We are all busy. Remember if you are too busy to pray you are too busy!

Then get a church directory or make your own list and divide the list up so that it is manageable. Try to pray for everyone at least weekly. Learn to pray consistently.

Our next tip for effective prayer is to pray scripturally. I have found the best way to do this is to use Scripture. In fact, I often use the prayer from this morning's devotion to pray for others. For example, Father, I pray for Bob this morning. I pray that he will be filled with knowledge of your will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding. I pray that he will walk worthy of you and please you in every respect. See how simple that is. Use Scripture to pray for one another. You can use other prayers in Scripture, the Psalms, or passages that address specific issues in a person’s life. If you wisely use Scripture you will always have something to pray and it's guaranteed to be in God's will.

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