Colossians 1:3 We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, (NKJV)
(Previous devotionals can be found at www.seriousfaith.com)
Maybe it’s just me, but often I have a hard time finding words to pray that are meaningful, substantive and fitting. It’s not that we have to come up with original, eloquent prayers in order for God to honor them. Part of prayer is communicating in simple honesty with God about what is going on in our lives, sharing our hurts, our wants, our needs and our love in whatever words most sincerely convey them.
But there are times when your mind just seems blank (well, maybe not you, but mine does). The words are hiding from you. For those times, it’s good to remember that the Bible itself contains many prayers for our use. That’s not to imply that Bible prayers are only profitable when we can’t find the words in ourselves. The prayers of the Bible, offered in thoughtful sincerity, even though not your own words, are the very words of God Himself. What could please Him more?
Of course, prayers found in Scripture can be “personalized” as we pray them. This helps us to be careful we aren’t engaging in “vain repetition” (Matt 6.7; *see note below). You can make them your own by praying them in the first person. You can modify them to fit your specific circumstances or needs. You can pray each phrase and then talk with God about that particular thought. Whenever you find it hard to pray, for whatever reason, turn to God’s Word and find prayers inspired by the Lord Himself. Let’s take a look at one in Colossians:
The Apostle Paul tells the Colossian church that because of their faith and love, he did not cease to pray (meaning regularly and faithfully) for them and to ask God for some things that we all should be asking for.
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; (NKJV; emphasis mine)
The “knowledge of His will” is not just a typical awareness or basic knowledge, but an intense, thorough and deep knowledge that is completely revealed in God’s Word (2Tim 3.16-17; 2Pet 1.3). Paul prays that we should be filled with thorough knowledge in all wisdom and spiritual understanding. Wisdom is the process of learning, compiling and organizing Godly principles. Understanding is being able to take those principles and apply them in a real and meaningful way to everyday life.
So Paul is praying for us to have a complete knowledge of God (accomplished through Bible study and prayer); compiling and remembering what we have learned; and finally, putting that organized Godly knowledge to use every day as we live out our Christian life.
Colossians 1:10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; (NKJV; emphasis mine)
What does it mean to walk worthy of the Lord? “Worthy” in this context means to be “fit for” or “made for”, like a ship that is seaworthy. For a ship to be worthy, it must not leak; it must be strong and well built; it must hold together in storms and operate in the manner for which is was designed. If all this is true, then the boat is “sea worthy”. This concept is true for any tool or occupation. A soldier “walks worthy” if they train well, do their duty and obey orders. A car “walks worthy” if it runs well, operates and safely and does what it was designed to do.
We call ourselves “Christians”; so we must walk, talk, act and behave in a way that is expected of someone called a Christian (as led by the Holy Spirit and God’s Word). Our daily lives should be recognizable as something that demonstrates Christ. In the same way someone can recognize a ship by how it “operates”, we should be easily recognized as Christians by the way we operate. In the same way a soldier is recognized as soldier, it shouldn’t take long before someone recognizes us as a soldier of Christ. This truth is more and more applicable as the world becomes more and more wicked.
When was the last time someone recognized you without a doubt as a Christian? Or are you just enough of one, that they “suspect” you might be? I’m not saying that we should be an obnoxious “in-your-face” Christian (we should not!) , but let’s be honest… it’s getting pretty difficult to pick out Christians from the rest of the world (at least in the West anyway). There’s less and less difference in our modesty, language, entertainment choices or lifestyles. We are not to be different for the sake of being different; we are to be different if the BIBLE standard is different from the world standard. That gap is growing larger and larger every day, so it would stand to reason that the difference in Christians and the world should be becoming more and more noticeable. But it’s not.
(That is not a commentary about certain clothes or hairstyles or music preferences; it’s a statement about conforming to Scriptural principles in the midst of living in this world…. wearing modest clothing regardless of the style; men looking like men and women like women regardless of the haircut style; it’s about music and entertainment choices that are edifying to your spirit and do not glorify the sinfulness of this world.
This cannot be boiled down to a LIST. NO ONE CAN MAKE THESE DECISIONS FOR YOU. Each person must be guided by the Holy Spirit making choices in each area to honor God and be different from the world in the areas where the world has strayed from God.)
How is the worthy walk achieved? Thought you’d never ask. First of all, it’s accomplished in our sincere effort to be fully pleasing. Of course there will be times when we will fail in this, but the Lord is patient and merciful. Our life won’t be perfect, but it should be marked by increasing holiness, increasing obedience and increasing selflessness.
Another way to “walk worthy” is to be fruitful in every good work. What does that mean? It means be good; do good; act good; think good; choose good. Be a good person. Be good to others. Be good. It’s a mindset, a lifestyle, a heart condition. Being good perpetuates itself.
Being good results in being even “gooder”
which results in even more good.
Horrible grammar, but you get the point. Another way to walk worthy is to “increase in the knowledge of God” which we already spoke about. Be good, act like the Christ you claim to serve and increase in God’s Word. That is the worthy walk.
Colossians 1:11 strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; (NKJV; emphasis mine)
Wow! Have you ever prayed for that? To be strengthened with all might according to His glorious power? Maybe we don’t have this in our lives because we don’t ask (James 4.2). Being strong in the “might of the Lord” is available to all Christians; it’s not something reserved for the “super Christians”. Most of us aren’t “strengthened with all might” because we are “weakened with all worldliness”. It is hard for God to empower us with spiritual strength when we are plugged into the world instead of Him most of the time.
Most of us aren’t “strengthened with all might” because we are “weakened with all worldliness”.
Part of being strengthened comes from gaining patience. Patience is the ability to endure trials with a Godly attitude. The problem with praying for patience is that the only way to get patience, is to suffer or be tested. There is no patience pill; no quick shot. That’s a tough one for us sometimes.
We want patience, AND WE WANT IT NOW!
Longsuffering carries the idea of dealing with difficult types of people. Of course as Christians, we don’t come across difficult people, especially at church, right? Hmmm. Wherever people exist, difficult people exist. So it is important for us to ask God for the ability to deal lovingly and patiently with them.
Colossians 1:12 giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. (NKJV; emphasis mine)
Paul finishes up with the hallmark trait of the Christian life: thankfulness. We of all people on the face of the earth have SO MUCH to be thankful for. Of course, first and foremost (and this alone would be enough), we are thankful that we will spend all eternity with God, and not separated from Him. We are thankful for Jesus who made it possible.
We are thankful to God who qualified us (put us into position; made us sufficient; authorized) to be partakers (sharers; joint heirs) of the inheritance (portion; share) of the saints in the light (the truth).
What a powerful and effective prayer! Take this prayer and personalize it for yourself. Write it down on a index card and stick it in your Bible, purse or briefcase. You will never fail to be blessed when you pray it in sincerity, spirit and truth. Here’s my personal version:
Lord, Help me to be filled with the knowledge of Your Will, organizing and compiling the Truth revealed in Your written Word. Help me to know how to apply those truths to my daily life in a meaningful and impactful way.
Empower me, O God, to live out my daily life in a manner worthy of being called “Christian”. Show me how to be fully pleasing to You in all things, learning to be good person by learning Your Word.
Teach me to draw on the spiritual strength You have for me, being patient in the midst of a sin-cursed world; showing love, compassion and mercy to difficult people when they cross my path.
May I be always thankful for the incredible gifts You have given me. Thank you for arranging for me to share in my portion of eternal life.
In Jesus Name, Amen.
Contemplation: What makes a Bible prayer, prayed by us today, acceptable to God? Do you ever “pray Scripture”? Can you think of anything else that would be more in line with God’s will?
Application: Learn to pray the Word of God. Make it a consistent and substantial part of your prayer life. When you sincerely pray God’s Word, you can be sure that you are praying what is God’s will.
James 1:22 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (NKJV)
- What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
- What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
- What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?
Note: “Vain repetition” is reciting prayers, sentences or phrases over and over again thinking that the act of saying the words repeatedly have some sort of mystical, spiritual or magical power.