Pray for Me
I regularly meet people in the street or in the super-market who share with me current or present difficulties through which they are passing, and my response to most of them when we part company, is …
“I’ll say a prayer for you.”
Do you know how to pray effectively for other people? Would you like others to know how to intercede for you? Impacting others through the power of prayer is one of our greatest privileges as Christians, and those prayers can have far reaching consequences in their lives. Prayer really does make a difference and does change things. God does not invade anyone’s life, but when invited, His mighty power can transform the most difficult times and circumstances. God wants the world to be able to see Him, and recognise Him, and many who don’t yet know God, know their need of God, but are unable to find him. This is where Prayer comes into its own. Prayer asks God to become involved in my life and in the lives of those for whom we pray.
But sometimes we’re not sure exactly how to pray.
My Sermon today entitled “PRAY FOR ME” takes a look at one of the most powerful passages found in the book of Colossians and can serve as an example for us to follow when we pray for others. In this prayer, we find six life-changing petitions that can strengthen the spiritual foundation of any individual on our prayer list.
Here in Colossians 1, verse 9, Paul says that we should first of all, Pray for the person to
“Be filled with the knowledge of [God’s] will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding” (v9). God does not want any of us groping about in the dark trying to find out His will for
our way in this life. So, Praying for someone to discover the Lord’s purpose in his or her life, is always a great place to start. If you are
a parent, you can pray this way for your Children also. Pray that God would reveal to your children His will for their lives. Pray too, that they may find and marry the right person one day, and find real happiness in love. When your children are older, they will begin to understand the skills, gifts, and callings that God has given them. This provides children with security and confidence based on a relationship with God.
If you have a living relationship with God in Prayer, your children too will pick up on that, and it will make a real difference to how they face the future. Early in my childhood I understood that both my parents and grand-parents trusted in God more than they ever trusted in any Government! So I was learning of the importance of a relationship with God, long before I knew him for myself, and I saw my Father and Mother fall on their knees every single night to pray for their children, and when I was old enough to join them, I prayed for them also in this way.
Then Paul adds:
“Walk in a manner worthy of the Lord” (v.10). Pray for the person to have a lifestyle that displays the character of Christ. A godly life not only pleases the Lord, but it can often lead to the salvation and transformation of others who observe that lifestyle and way of living. Those who walk with God every day cannot but have an aura of “peace” about them all the time. This speaks volumes to those who wrestle with the troubles and cares of life and have no Saviour and no help in their troubles. But don’t wait until someone is in trouble before starting to pray for them. Through intercession, a great deal of heartache can be avoided. The very fact that someone has even asked for your prayers makes a difference because of their association with you. Did you know that the Street, the cul-de-sac, or road that you live on is blessed, simply because you live there. Gods favour rests on all of his children and I know that there is blessing in store for the world, that can only come to it, through the Church and Gods children. Get into the mind-set of expecting God to bless others, when you say those words “God Bless you”, and expect God to answer when you say “I’ll pray for you”. You’ll be amazed at what can happen if you believe the promises. Gods word can only work for those who have confidence and faith in its ability to work. Work the Word, and the Word will work for you.
Then Paul adds that we should pray – that they may …
“[Bear] fruit in every good work” (v.10). Ask God to help the person invest his or her life wisely, making a contribution to the world around them. Today, young people often choose those college courses based on what will make them the most money, planning only for their personal pleasures and possessions. People who live this selfish way end up dying with a list of regrets, wondering if they’ve made any impact or lasting value in the world. If ones focus in life is constantly on oneself, then I recon that the world will be a dark and difficult place to survive.
Let me tell you a story. A few days ago I had Lunch with a Christian woman who I believe to be amongst the most Godly people I know. Just being in her company is a spiritual blessing. Jesus Christ just radiates from her whole personality and she spends her every waking moment, (at least that’s how it seems to me) running after and caring for others. She is retired from her profession, but is in my opinion only “re-tyred“, gotten a new set of tyres or a new set of wheels to assist her to get about more in the care of others. She bakes bread and cakes for the lonely and shut-ins, she paints and wall-papers for those whose disabilities don’t allow them to do it, she has even taken on the task of tiling a kitchen. Indeed if I would happened to say that my “boiler house” needed a new roof, she would be the first in line to offer help. She is never too busy or too occupied not to find time for others. I learned a long time ago to respect those who make time in their busy schedules for me, but to love those who ignore any busy schedule to make time for me.
And on the same day, I had morning coffee with a Christian man, who complained to me from the moment I sat down with him about the high cost of petrol, his rates bill, his home heating costs and his noisy neighbours. His wife was in hospital and he complained about the care that she was receiving. His garden had gone-to-seed, and he was no longer able to maintain it. His outlook was bleak and his demeanour sullen, to say the least.
But his problem was “his focus” for it is impossible to find happiness in anything selfish. Happiness is something that when we seek it for others we will unconsciously find it for ourselves. This is the kind of fruit-bearing of which the apostle Paul refers.
Then Paul says we should ask that they …
“[Increase] in the knowledge of God” (v.10) Ask the Lord to develop the individual’s relationship with Him and increase his or her understanding of Gods nature. If you’re a parent, one practical way to increase your children’s spiritual knowledge is to attend church— and a Church that recognizes the authority of the Bible, Gods Word. Another habit that teaches our children to desire the knowledge of God is reading the Bible together and talking about it. Parents should ask their children what they have learned from God’s Word and how it applies to everyday life. Many children growing up today equate the person or name of Jesus with Batman, or Superman, and don’t really know who this wonderful character is. We know about the moves afoot to remove all reference and relevance of the Scriptures from our Schools.
Christian parents should also tell their children what they are
learning from God themselves, demonstrating their own hunger
for spiritual growth. So what are you discovering, what are you learning about God? Is your knowledge increasing and is it increasing every day? We can never exhaust our knowledge of God, should we live to 100 we would still need to wear our “L” plates in reference to God.
In fact I have discovered that the more I get to know about God, the more there is still to know. When I climb to the top of the highest mountain (in spiritual knowledge) it stretches out in front of me and in the distance I see an even higher summit ahead for me to conquer? Yet in all of our knowing and understanding ABOUT God, this cannot be a substitute for knowing Him. We can certainly know more and more about him from the Bible, but knowing Him is only possible in the place of intimate prayer and communion. There, both in the supplications, and in the silences, we discover His mighty Heart of Love, and we
find power to reflect that love in our lives.
This neatly leads me on to Paul’s next Prayer request,
where he adds: that they may be …
“strengthened with all power” (v. 11). Many falsely believe that a Christian is someone who goes to Church, pays their way and says their prayers, loves their neighbour and as far as possible is decent honest and upright of character. But while these may be the outward manifestations of Christianity, and are certainly worth pursuing, … the Bible says that only “they that are led by the Spirit of God, these are the Sons (Children) of God” Romans 8:14. You may go to the Church, you may even hold an office in Church, you may even be the Pastor
or the Priest in the Church, but unless you know the filling and supernatural power of the Holy Spirit of God, and follow where He leads, then the Bible declares you are none of his. It is only the “power” of the Holy Spirit that can make effective the ministry of Jesus, and the ministry of His word.
Anything else is merely human flesh, and no flesh can glory in His presence. 1 Cor 1:29. Pray also for your children to operate in this awesome, supernatural power of God, – asking Him to warn them about temptations and help them resist negative peer pressures. You can also pray for a colleague or a friend who is having difficulty. The Holy Spirit can enable others to do what they cannot naturally do in their own wisdom or capacity.
Finally in these verses Paul says that when you pray for one another; “[Give] thanks to the Father” (v. 12).
To intercede for the individual to live with joy and gratitude because of his or her salvation. Col 1:12. Of course, if someone is not born again into the family of God, then, you should pray that he or she would receive Jesus as Saviour and begin to experience the joy of their salvation. 1 John 5,14-15 promises that anything we ask according to His will is heard, and will be granted—but we must have a clean heart and ask in faith.
We should try to get into the habit of thanking God for His work already begun. We may not yet see any outward manifestation and answers to our prayers, but faith believes that the work is done, and looks forward to seeing the results. So in your prayer-life adopt the attitude of gratitude!
Just recently I had been praying for a young man who goes to the same “gym” that I do . He has always shown a great interest in my radio ministry and says that he values my “wisdom”, but admitted that he never goes to church and had little time for the things of God. Yet in spite of his apparent disinterest in the Gospel, I pray for him – and while doing so, I thank God that I am burdened for his soul, and his spiritual well-being. Knowing that such burdens for sinners come from the Holy Spirit, and that that burden for him has often brought me even to the place of tears, I began to thank God for his salvation. A few days ago, he surprised me by disclosing that he had as a child accepted Jesus as his personal Saviour, but had become neglectful, keeping God out of his life. Now he faces a choice, – does he continue to live his own life and make his own choices, or does he repent and follow Christ into the perfect choices and so find the right places of destiny and purpose.
I will continue to thank God in prayer for him, “Being confident of this very thing, that he (The Saviour) which hath begun a good work in him will perfect it …” Phil.1:6
We may give up on God, but God will never give up on us!
I have discovered that nothing in the life of the Christian just happens by coincidence. God has Divine Appointments for you and I to keep every day. What an exciting thought that is? When I ask God in the morning to “make me a blessing to someone today” I have no idea just who will walk across my path and whose life I will get
an opportunity to “Change for Good and for God”?
If I am walking in the flesh, in my carnal way of thinking, I will most certainly miss those Divine appointments, – but if I walk by, and am led by the Holy Spirit, then my life and witness, will impact others for God every single day.
But even if I never crossed my front door to go outside, I can still pray and influence and impact the world around me through my Prayers and Intercessions on behalf of others. You may not know the names of your neighbours next door or across the street, (nowadays most don’t?) but God knows them and you can pray for them. You can by intercession, actually change things in their lives, change their circumstances, protect their families, and bring them to faith,
through the wonderful ministry of Prayer.
Who do you value enough to impact with your prayers? With eternity in mind, the opportunities to change the lives of others are too important to overlook. But the influence of prayer also takes effect in this present life, enabling children to make the right choices, students to succeed at college or university, and your friends to have a solid understanding of God’s will. There is no problem that cannot be resolved through prayer, and no boundaries to prayers influence.
Therefore, join God in shaping the outcome of history, one life at a time. Get back on your Knees in the place of Prayer and plead for the souls of your neighbourhood with God.
Don’t become comfortable in praying just for those who you know in your family and circle of friends. Start praying for those who you don’t know, … the man who delivers the post, the woman at the supermarket check-out, the boy who rides his bicycle over your grass, or the old lady whose cat thinks he lives at your house and not hers! They are all precious to God, and should be precious to you, if you walk in the Spirit and are led by the Spirit of Love in Christ Jesus?
Praying for others, intercession as it is called, is a most Christ-like activity, for He is always “making intercession” for us. Heb.7:25
This is why we Pray using the name of Jesus. God has given Him a name above every other name, in Hell, in Earth and in Heaven . Phil 2:9 Which means that we can come to our Heavenly Father with the backing or authority of Jesus. We can face our battles and our burdens knowing that Jesus is behind us.
A policeman cannot legally stop a vehicle in his own power, but when wearing his uniform, backed by the authority of the state, he becomes the most powerful man on the highway. When I come to the prayer-room of heaven, with a prayer or petition, an intercession for my friends or family, and ask for that in His name,
I have it on his authority that “it’s done” and so I can ask with the attitude of gratitude. That’s why walking in the Spirit, puts a smile on your face.
NOW THIS FINAL WORD
Perhaps you have a motto in your home or have seen the motto which reads: “Prayer changes things” and no doubt you can testify of many occasions when prayer most certainly did change “things”.
But I am inclined to believe that very frequently “things” do not change one iota. Rather, prayer changes us – to such an extent that we gloriously triumph over those “things,” whether they be a disagreeable environment or an unpleasant task, or perhaps a severe testing. Praise God, His all-sufficient grace is able to make us completely oblivious to all of these “things,” and our triumphing over them is a more glorious victory, and brings more glory to God,
than their removal could ever accomplish.
Like the growing boy who had lost his teddy-bear, he search everywhere for it without success. Then he told his grand-mother that he had no option but to pray and ask God for its safe return. A few days later his granny asked if the bear had been found? “No” replied the boy, but God has changed my desires for teddy-bears, instead
I want a girlfriend!
Gods answer may not always be what we expect,
but it will always be for our Good.
May God Bless this word to all our hearts for His dear names sake… Amen