The sermon and blogs I present immediately before going to India are very special to me. I pray and seek God’s guidance for several months because what He leads me to focus on becomes the theme for my trip, both for me personally and for those who pray and support me. This trip God has led me to Colossians 1:3-14, how to pray so that lives are changed.
We know the importance of prayer, and that God answers prayer, but often we don’t really know just what to pray for concerning ourselves or others. We know prayer is powerful and touches the heart of God Who, in turn, touches the lives of those for whom we pray. The power is not in the prayer itself but in the God Who answers the prayer. Often our prayers become a series of directions to God, explaining how we want Him to make life easier for us and those we know. When those kinds of prayers aren’t answered the way we think they should be we start doubting the power of prayer. Our prayers must line up with God’s will for others if we are to see answers.
So just how are to pray in a way that changes lives? Paul’s pray to the Colossians, which was similar to his prayers for other churches and individuals, gives us the pattern. It is simple, yet profound. It shows us what God wants to do in our lives and the lives of others so our prayers can line up with His will.
Remember, though, our prayers to see peoples’ lives changed should not be motivated by selfish reasons. We can’t demand God change circumstances or situations, only that He uses them to work in the person’s life. In fact, because of what you are praying, it may make situations worse than they were to begin with. That may be necessary in order for God to accomplish what you are asking Him to do. One more thing, this prayer will only be effect if you pray it on a daily basis for a long time. It is no quick fix, nothing that will change things over night. I encourage you to apply these truths to your prayers for yourself, others you pray for, me and the pastors and Christians in India.
Paul’s prayer in Colossians 1:3-14 breaks down into 2 main sections: Paul thanking God for the believer in Colossae (3-9) and asking God to fill them with knowledge of His will (9-14). He thanks God for them because of the testimony of their faith, love and hope. He asks that they would know God’s will so they can live a life worthy of Him and please Him in every way. Let’s look at this passage and see how it applies to each of us today.
Paul begins by writing: “We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you.” (3) All of Paul’s prayers begin with thanksgiving and that’s a good habit to have. It changes our attitude and greatly impacts how we pray in the rest of the prayer.
Every time you pray or communicate with God today, start with thanksgiving. Make it sincere, heartfelt appreciation. Think of new things to express gratitude for whenever you talk to Him. Don’t rush through it but be sincerely grateful to Him.