In June I attended a Missionary Retreat in Branson, Missouri. It was a sweet time of fellowship and fun with missionary friends both old and new. While there, our main speaker, Pastor Stevenson, spoke on Colossians 1:9-12 and talked us through four prayers we all should be praying. These really spoke to me as I began to take in what he was saying. Please let me share these with you this week.
The first prayer he mentioned,
relating to verse 9, was, “Lord, help me to know what to do.” This is a prayer, I would imagine, that we
all pray regularly. We face many
situations in relationships, finances, and life that find us begging the
question as to what in the world we are to do.
Here in Colossians, Paul prays for the believers to be filled with the
knowledge of God’s will. He wants them
to have the wisdom and spiritual understanding needed to make good
decisions. We all need that, don’t
we? Let’s remember that God is willing
to share this wisdom with us. According
to James 1:5, all we need do is ask. Are
you asking? Or are you struggling along
trying to figure things by relying on your own wits?
The second prayer, formulated from
verse 10, is “Lord, help me to do what I know to do.” I have always loved the instruction to “walk
worthy.” It forms a picture in my mind
and gives me the challenge I need to rise above the pettiness around me. As His
child, I am to live in a kinder, more pleasing, and more productive way. I am to be increasing in every good
work. The temptation is to go with the
crowd; to indulge in complaining, self-focus, or greed. But I need to live above the friends in low
places. Matter of fact, I should not be
down there with them. I am to live in a
totally different realm because I am the child of the King. If I know how I should respond, then I want
to be obedient, but my flesh gets in the way.
I hear my heart trying to justify a selfish or hateful response when I
am confronted, so I need to be asking the Lord to help me to do what I know to
do–to respond in loving obedience.
The next prayer Pastor Stevenson
drew from the text was, “Lord, help me to know and do with the right
attitude.” We find the following qualities in verse 11—patience,
longsuffering, and joyfulness. I mentioned love.
That is a great quality, but Paul’s prayer goes on to these three more
specific examples. Am I knowing and
doing from a heart of patience and concern?
Maybe. Maybe not.
I like the first part of the verse,
“strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power,” because I know
how much strength and spiritual power it takes for me to maintain a good
attitude. The words, “I forgive you” may roll off my tongue but to have the
right attitude in my heart takes a work of God.
It might be easy to keep my mouth shut, but to bring every thought
captive and not allow my mind to drone on and on is more of a spiritual
When we are pushed, do we exhibit
patience, longsuffering, and joy?
Joy? Joy when I am impatient with
others? Joy when things take longer than
expected? That’s odd to me. But as I think about it, if my response is a
choice made in love, then there could be joy.
Joy that I didn’t blurt out something unkind. Joy that I knew the Spirit of God was working
in my circumstance. Joy that the other
person doesn’t know how close I came to giving them a good tongue-lashing.
Pastor Stevenson’s fourth prayer was
sorta two-fold, “Lord, help me to be thankful in everything and keep me
reminded of my position in Christ.”
I use that “thankful in everything” instruction in many areas of my
life. It is a verse that reverberates in
my mind. I have written before that an
attitude of thankfulness creates more joy and happiness in life than you can imagine. It is a great pressure valve. It produces a peaceful heart and gives glory
to the Lord.
I think Paul knew that too, so that
is why he added this request to his prayer for the believers. They were going to face difficult situations,
but they needed to look around for the things that brought praise and
thankfulness. They needed to appreciate
what they had and what the Lord had done in their lives.
We need to do the same. As this old world continues to wind down to its
destined end, difficult situations will increase and we become confused and
disillusioned, but we need not.
We are children of the King. We are the victors. We have an inheritance. It reminds me of the phrase from the old
hymn; “this world is not my home, I’m just a passing through.”
And passing through we are. But we still need to keep these four prayers
before us; asking the Lord to give us wisdom, obeying God’s truth with a right
attitude, and to be a thankful and secure people