Prayers of the Church
Monday, August 31, 2009

“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.” Col. 1:9

                I am captivated by the prayers of the New Testament.  I am so convinced that our answers for life are contained in those prayers that I spent two years writing my doctoral thesis on the subject.  And in the process, two things became very clear.  One, the prayers of the New Testament are transforming prayers; and two, the modern church is clueless about those prayers.  Let me explain.

                First of all, the NT prayers are transforming.  That of course is evident from the results.  A group of “unschooled and ordinary men” through prayer, mission, and dedication to Christ turned the world upside down.  And what made those prayers transforming was the content of those prayers.  And it is to that content that the modern church is clueless.

                I have said it often, but for those who have not been in my teaching sphere, let me say it again.  Paul did not offer up a single – not one – prayer for healing in all of his Epistles.  And yet a review of the prayer lists and concerns of any modern church is all about healing the aches and pains of the members; safety from harm for our loved ones; and jobs for the unemployed.  And while some can point to success, for the most part the prayers are powerless.  At least they are powerless in the sense of NT power – transforming, world changing kind of power.

                Listen to Paul’s prayer for the Church of Colossi.  First, he prayed that God would fill them with knowledge of His will.  You see, the greatest prayer any of us pray is – “Your will be done.”  That was Jesus prayer in the Garden and it is a petition of the Great Lord’s prayer.  Paul knew that, so his prayer for his church was that they would be filled with the knowledge of that will.  You see, God will answer prayers prayed according to His will.  He yearns that His people would be in step with His divine will.  For when we are, then great things can begin to happen.  But when we seek only His power of healing, we fall so short of being fully in His will.  We diminish Him so greatly.

                Secondly Paul prayed that they would be filled with knowledge of His will, through spiritual wisdom and understanding.  You see, knowledge is what we know.  But wisdom is granted so that we can effectively use what we know.  Spiritual wisdom and understanding takes what we know about God and His will and applying it to our lives and to our churches.  Then the church begins to draw on the strength and power of the Holy Spirit – because we are seeking God and His will instead of His service to us.

                And the reason Paul prays for this is clear – “that [the Church] may live a life worthy of the Lord.”  Wow!  Imagine an entire congregation seeking wisdom and knowledge of God, His will, His Spiritual wisdom, and His understanding.  Then we can move into being a Body that is living lives worthy of Him.  “Pleasing Him in every way.”  Listen to that power.  Our prayers are that we might be worthy and pleasing God.  Listen to how that would sound.  What if on Sunday morning when the pastor asks for prayer, we would ask that our churches are pleasing to God in every way.

Then all of a sudden the prayers of the modern church can be heard -- “Bearing fruit in every good work.”   Now the cart is behind the horse; the order is correct.  First we pray for God and His will; then His understanding and wisdom; and we pray for those things so that we might be worthy and pleasing to Him in every way.  Now we are rightly aligned to God, and the prayers of healing, good ministry, and power in our mission will be heard – for they are in the context of pleasing God.  As Paul said, “being strengthened will all power, according to His glorious might . . .”

There is much more I would love to say, but if you have read this far I will be blessed.  But hear the message – NT prayer is transforming prayer because it is God centered prayer.  And for the modern church to return to NT power, we must return to NT prayer.

Kingdom Road Ministries
PO Box 503
10 South Main, Suite 201
Victor, ID 83455

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