by Barbara Latta
Have you ever felt like your prayers were empty? I have. When I realized all my prayers were for God to meet my needs, take care of a problem, or change a circumstance, I found out I was praying wrong.
Paul the Apostle prayed many prayers for the saints in the New Testament Church.
What does the prayer to the Colossian believers mean to us?
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; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. (Colossians 1:9-12 NKJV)
One day the light came on when I read how the Apostle Paul prayed for the saints he ministered to. I saw that his prayers for them were for spiritual insight rather than for physical needs.
Paul used the power of the Holy Spirit to heal people, cast out demons, and receive provision. He told the Philippians that God would supply their needs (Philippians 4:19). But he didn’t pray to God for this. He told them God’s faithfulness would come to them because of the seeds they had sown into his ministry.
And in the case of where Paul pleaded with God about the thorn in his flesh, it is addressed in a previous post.
Does this mean we aren't to pray about our needs?
No, we are told in 1 Peter 5:7 to cast our care on Him because He cares for us.
When we increase in the knowledge of God, we will be so filled with His wisdom we can receive the things we need by knowing He has already provided them for us. It is up to us to draw out of His wisdom to live in the Spirit's power.
Here are 4 principles we can glean from Paul’s prayers:
1. Be filled with the knowledge of God’s will. 1 Corinthians 2:10 tells us God has revealed His will to us by His Spirit.
How do we receive this knowledge? Renew our minds to God’s way of thinking and don’t let the world’s view transform us (Romans 12:1-2).
2. Walk worthy of the Lord. If you are like me, when I read that I immediately thought, “Well, I’m not worthy.” None of us are in ourselves. Worthy here means to walk after a godly sort. When we do this, we will be fruitful in good works.
3.Be strengthened with patience and longsuffering with joy. Those are two words we don’t like to hear because of the wrong definitions we have received about them.
But according to Strong’s 5281 definition in the Blue Letter Bible, patience is cheerful or hopeful endurance. Patience is remaining steadfast in what we believe even when under pressure.
Jesus gave the Parable of the Sower in Mark chapter 4 to illustrate how satan tries to steal the word from us by putting trials and pressure on us. If we remain faithful to God during these times, this is what patience and longsuffering means. We obtain the ability to do this by increasing in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior.
4. Be thankful. He made us partakers of Christ’s inheritance. There is nothing greater than that for us to be thankful for. Verse 13 of Colossians chapter one goes on to tell us we have been translated from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God’s Son. What a gift to rejoice about!
When we pray for spiritual enlightenment and strength, we will also be able to receive the fulfillment of the physical and material needs we have. As we study the other prayers of the Apostle Paul, we will find a common thread in what he asked God to provide for the saints.
We can fulfill our roles as Titus 2 women who encourage and educate by learning to pray the way Paul did.
What points can you add to what we learn from Paul’s prayer? Join the conversation.