Do you ever catch yourself praying and wonder if what you are asking is even close to what God wants? I’ve wondered that a lot. I’ll be praying for someone to be healed of arthritis and think, ‘Maybe God doesn’t want to heal them yet. Maybe there’s some bigger plan here.’ I’ve prayed for men to get jobs, for new vehicles, for better apartments, for changes in circumstance and situation and then asked myself: ‘What if God doesn’t want to do what I’m asking because He knows better?’ Isn’t He in control? Sometimes our prayers don’t fall in line with what God is doing. I’m not saying we shouldn’t ask for anything, but I am saying that we should be more careful that we don’t make prayer into spiritual wish lists of all we think God should do.
Jesus gave us the model prayer, and within that prayer are many parts: worship, confession, supplication, and intercession. I believe that Paul’s prayer in Colossians 1:9-12 is the full development of intercession (praying for others). These four requests are win-win. They are things we can pray and know that God will answer because these are things that He wants even more than we do! We will never go wrong praying for the following:
Pray that your Friend would Yield to God (v9)
What your friend needs most is a growing relationship with God. In order for that to happen, he is going to have to open his heart to be filled with the acknowledgment of that need and desire. He needs God to give him discernment (wisdom for drawing the right conclusions and making right decisions). God has provided a source of wisdom for life: Himself (James 1:5-8). Pray that his need for understand and his search for truth will bring him closer to yielding self to God’s control.
Pray for a Growing Desire to Please the Lord (v10)
Your friend was created in the image of God for the pleasure of God (Rev. 4:11) – whether she even realizes it. She will never be totally satisfied unless she is fulfilled in that purpose. We are called to ‘walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing.’ God will not be satisfied if she is not living to please Him. And make no mistake, her life will never be complete if God is not pleased with her. Pray that she would please God by her actions and her behavior (her public life). And pray also that she would please God with her attitude and beliefs (her private life). God desires an intimacy of relationship (2 Pet. 3:18) that blossoms outwardly into a witness of His glory to others.
Pray for Power to Deal with Life’s Difficulties (v11)
Life is tough. Your friend needs strength to handle it all. He can’t do it in his own power – it’s just too much. God desires to enable him to be strong enough to endure anything that the world dishes out. God even wants to give him an abundance of happiness in the midst of his most difficult situations. This patience and this joy are only found in God’s grace. We are weak, yet in weakness we understand God’s strength (2 Cor. 12:9). Pray that his weakness leads him to rely on God’s strength by faith. Pray that he will be able to say, like Paul, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Phil. 4:13)
Praise God that He has Equipped Us to Life as He Asks (v12)
The Christian life is neither easy nor difficult. It is impossible unless it is lived thru’ Him who called us to it! We can all thank God that He has given us everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). He has qualified, empowered, and authorized His people to be, to do, and to go where He requires. He has made us suitable victors, overcomers, and heirs of His inheritance. What gratitude I feel because of the grace I have been given. What praise I express because of the Person I know. What life I have because of the life He gave!