Friends, prayer can be hard work—not only in our efforts to pray constantly, but in keeping our prayers in step with God’s character and purposes. If we pray in response to God’s revealed will, then praying with an open Bible is vital.
I find Colossians 19-14 a continual challenge to my prayers. It’s easy to pray for what’s immediate (like a convenient parking spot); or, what’s focused on ourselves (my health or job). But keeping God’s concerns (seeking God’s kingdom) in our prayers takes spiritual determination. So this Colossian prayer raises questions like:
- am I praying for people I haven’t met (eg. around the diocese, missionaries)? v.9: … since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you
- do I pray for fellow Christians to be filled with the knowledge of God’s will (v.9)? This prayer asks that we may know God’s word where we find his will) and hence obey it. Cf. Psalm 14310 … teach me to do your will
- are we praying for a life that pleases the Lord, ie., a life bearing fruit in every good work; growing in the knowledge of God; strengthened to endure with patience; and joyfully giving thanks to God the Father? Just imagine the difference in our church life if were all praying this sort of prayer for each other!!
It’s easy to find excuses for not praying like: I’m too busy; or I don’t feel a need to pray; or I’m too ashamed to pray. But God desires our prayer; he invites us to join with him in working out his loving purposes. In the light of who God is, and what He’s done in Christ, how can we afford not to pray?? (Check out 1 Thessalonians 516ff)