November 12th and 13th
We are about midway through this month of gratitude and as we near Thanksgiving and all the preparations that go into that day let your mind and heart dwell on the why. Why are you personally thankful this year? Begin this weekend to speak words of thanks for your family, home, neighbors, cities and for our country. Instead of looking for what is wrong, focus on what is right and pray for those around you. Here is a prayer of thanks from Colossians 1. Paul begins by expressing his thanks for the faith of the Colossians. ” We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people— 5 the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel .” (verses 3-4) Who do you know that you are thankful for their faith? Who’s faith has pointed you continually toward Jesus and the truth of God’s Word? Offer up your own thanks for those believers who strength and encourage your faith.
Paul continues in verses 9-14 “For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
What is Paul praying for the Colossian believers? In verse 9 Paul begins by asking that they will be filled with the wisdom and understanding provided by the Holy Spirit. He then continues and asks that the wisdom and understanding God will give them be applied to their lives so they will please God with their words and deeds. He wants them to produce fruit of the Spirit in the good works they are doing. He desires that they continue to grow in the knowledge of God. Paul wants them to be strengthened so that they may have patience, endurance and joy in their walk with Jesus. He wants them to remember the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross and how he saved them from eternal death and darkness and brought them into a life of light and forgiveness.
This is a mighty prayer. Who do you know that you can pray this prayer for? Who do you know that needs empowerment for living like the Colossian Christians? You can replace the ‘you’s’ in this prayer with their name or your own. I challenge you to pray this prayer over them for several days, a week or even a month. Look for God’s transforming power in them and in yourself as you pray for others.
A truth to claim with thanksgiving: I have the ability to approach God. The idea of approaching God has been fraught with fear and trembling throughout the ages. However, if we look at Genesis Chapters 2 and 3 we see that in the beginning man existed in the garden and had a relationship with Almighty God. Adam and Eve did not fear God until they ate from the tree of knowledge, then they knew sin. Through the work of Jesus on the cross, we can now come near to God as we have a relationship with God again. Jesus has made us clean and presents us to the Father. I love Ephesians 3:12 “ In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.” and Hebrews 4:16 “ Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” We can approach God on behalf of others, as Paul did for the Colossians, or for ourselves.
Prayer is a mighty privilege and through it we come into the presence of God Almighty. Use it wisely and often.