Praying for Believers

Keep Christ Preeminent  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Since we call ourselves Christians, we need to actually follow Christ. This requires keeping Christ preeminent in all things, but especially the church.

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Bob D’Entremont used to joke that most church prayer meetings were like organ recitals. That’s humorous for two reasons:
He was an accomplished organist
He was not talking about playing the instrument
We tend to pray for the emergent, health and physical needs of other believers. We tend to not pray when there is no immediate need.
Is that the best practice? How else might we pray for believers?
As the Apostle Paul began his letter to the Church at Colosse, he included his prayer for them right after his greeting to them. In so doing, he provides us with a model for how we might pray for each other.

Setting the stage, 9a

Colossians 1:9 (NKJV)
9 For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you,
The reason he was writing and the reason he was praying is found back in verse 4
Colossians 1:4 NKJV
4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints;
He had heard of their faith in Christ
He had heard of their love for all the saints
He had not heard of their emergent health or physical needs. There was nothing particularly wrong to pray about and yet he prayed.

Approaching the Throne, 9b- 14

As he prayed for them, he prayed for:
Spiritual Insight, 9b
Knowledge of God’s will (knowing what to do)
Wisdom with God’s will (understanding how to carry out out)
Spiritual Understanding (discernment given by the Holy Spirit
Believer’s Bible Commentary B. Paul’s Thanksgiving and Prayer for the Believers (1:3–14)

This knowledge is not of a worldly or carnal nature; it is characterized by spiritual wisdom and spiritual understanding—wisdom to apply the knowledge in the best way, and understanding to see what agrees and what conflicts with God’s will.

Spiritual Discipline, 10-11
Understanding its inclusion
There was a popular sentiment throughout the region, as seen in multiple inscriptions, that people should walk “worthily of the gods” ie, live up to the standards of the gods, especially the one or ones you worship. This sentiment is particularly true when it comes to the true God.
Our Spiritual life and our physical life are necessarily connected because we are still one person. Changes, good or bad, in one area of my life effect other areas of my life.
Tracking its progression
The desire should be to please God
The process is fruitfulness (like a fruit tree that grows and bears fruit but is also seasonal and perpetual)
in every good work
in the knowledge of God
in the strength of power in action (dunamis).
The power being God’s power
The quantity being not in proportion to our need but being according to His supply. Which is to say, way more than we need.
The product is unexpected
patience - enduring difficulty without complaint
longsuffering - enduring difficulty without retaliation
joy - enduring difficulty without despair
Though the product is unexpected, it is not unappreciated. We will all go through difficulties. How we go through them is key.
Spiritual Gratitude, 12-14
To the Father, you can have an attitude of gratitude but it needs to be directed to someone. Have you ever said “thank you” to no one?
For His blessings
He qualified us
What gives us the right to be in this relationships we are? The Colossians had faith in Christ and love for believers.
The basis for our relationship is in what God did for us. He gave us the right. John 1:12 “12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:”
The qualification is lasting. The tense here is past perfect; something that happened in the past the effect of which carries into the future.
What do we receive with this qualification? a share in the inheritance received by all saints (believers). Romans 8:17 “17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.”
He delivered us
From the power of darkness - Satan and his kingdom and his influence hold no power over us.
Into the kingdom of Christ and His influence which do (or should) hold power over us
He redeemed us - literally paid the price of release,
this describes the requirement of buying a slave in order to set them free
The price he paid was the blood of Christ
He forgave us - this is related to redemption
it describes what we were freed from, namely, sin. John 8:34 “34 Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.”
it also reminds us that having been set free from the debt caused by sin, there is nothing for us to pay.
forgiveness is transactional in nature, it is the declaration that a debt has been cancelled
this is true of God’s forgiveness of us
this is necessary of our forgiveness of each other
Paul’s prayer for the Colossians covered three big areas:
Spiritual Insight
Spiritual Discipline
Spiritual Gratitude
How different is that from how we typically pray for each other (assuming we do, and I understand that may be assuming facts not in evidence)?
When you feel led to pray for other believers, let this be a guide for how you should pray for them and what you should ask for them to receive. These areas are of far greater concern than a mere organ recital!
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