What do you pray for people? Let’s read how the Apostle Paul prayed for Christ-followers in Colossae. “And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.” (Colossians 1:10–12)
He asked God to do four things so that their lives would demonstrate that they were His kids through their faith in Christ.
Paul wanted the works of their hands to be blessed. Whatever they put their hand to, he wanted it to prosper. Maybe Thomas Edison was able to deal with 1,000 failures before he finally invented a working light bulb, but most of us can’t handle that many failures. We need to be encouraged by success more frequently.
- Know God better
It is all too easy to become focused on our work or hobbies. People read books to know all sorts of bits of information about their work or favorite hobby or athlete, but when it comes to God, it seems we are satisfied with just saying, “I believe in God.” Paul wanted us to realize that God can be known like any other person. God has revealed His thoughts in the Bible. Paul said in Ephesians 1:17, “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better.”
- Endurance and patience
We all need this. Many equate the Christian life to a marathon rather than a sprint, requiring you to pace yourself. I think an even better illustration of the Christian life is like running cross-country, up and down hills, through mud and puddles, experiencing times when your footing is sure and other times when you slip.
- Joyful thanksgiving
Often, our response to situations beyond our control or comfort is to complain. The Book of Psalms in our Bibles indicate that God isn’t mad at us when we voice our complaints directly to Him in prayer. But God doesn’t want us complaining to other people. The cure for complaining is the practice of thankfulness. Because of what Jesus has done, Christ-followers should be the most thankful people on earth. “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
Paul prayed that these qualities would be developed in the lives of the believers in Colossae. These traits are the characteristics that God is working into us, as well, and what we can pray into the lives of those we care about.