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Learning about Pauls’ prayers

August 19, 2008

Not long ago a friend prayed one of the meaningful prayers anyone has ever blessed me with. He said something like, “God, I am going to pray a little differently because I have seen what struggle can do in Sherie’s life. Lord, let the future hold whatever pain and struggle she needs on this journey she is leaving on.” I know he meant it with the deepest care he had to give, and for that prayer I am thankful.

Too often I pray for circumstantial things. Over the past couple weeks I have been challenged in that as I have been surrounded by others with large needs including death, abuse, healing, health, finances, job, divorce, moves, children at risk, stress, etc. Many have been life changing, and some even life threatening, but I have found myself stopping to reflect on how my prayers are often shaped by what I think should happen instead of what the person needs on the journey they are on, and what will bring God the most glory.

Paul has some powerful prayers in his letters to the churches in New Testament. The verses below include prayers for spiritual wisdom and understanding, endurance, patience, knowing Christ better, living a life working of Lord, and knowing the hope we are called to. I tend to pray for things to get better, but maybe the path to endurance and knowing Christ better doesn’t include that. I think I need to change the way I pray!

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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. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints. (Ephesians 1:17-18 )

For this reason since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. 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)

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