Sharing our prayers
People have said it to me more times than I can remember, but I’m unsure how many of them really followed through. I’ve even promised to do it for someone else, and yet I failed to live up to my own words.
It’s just five words, and they are quite common to hear in Christian communities:
I’ll be praying for you.
I’m not sure that I can trust others who tell me that…but that’s probably because I don’t really trust myself when I say it. IF it happens that I remember to do the praying I’ve promised to do, it’s usually a breath or two about God “helping” them with their “stuff”. If I feel unsure how to pray for someone, then my lack of trust for other’s prayer-promises probably comes from not knowing what, specifically, they are praying to God about my life.
Fortunately for us, God doesn’t leave us to our own meandering minds. God’s Word is full of prayer examples, especially in Paul’s letters. At the beginning of his letter to the believers in Colossae, Paul gives us a great example:
For this reason also, since the day we heard this, we haven’t stopped praying for you. We are asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, so that you may walk worthy of the Lord
The first thing that stands out is that Paul’s not spending time praying about their circumstances. Instead, he’s talking to God about the Colossians’ relationship with God in the midst of their circumstances. Paul doesn’t have to have intimate knowledge of their situation…rather his emphasis is that they would know God and His purposes.
When we are walking closely with God, we are filled with the knowledge of His will and we more clearly see His desires and purposes. We trust better. We relax and watch for God. We see life with a wisdom and spiritual understanding that is most definitely God-given. These are the things Paul continually prayed for the believers in Colossae. Not for “God’s help” in their lives, but that they would know Him and know Him well.
The second thing that stands out is that Paul told them what he was praying for them. How encouraging would it be for someone to tell you that they were praying these things for you? To have a person specifically tell me that they were asking God that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will…that information would be perspective-changing. It would lift my eyes away from my “stuff” and circumstances; instead I would begin to look to God for His wisdom and spiritual understanding.
This is how we support one another in prayer. Let’s petition God about relationships, not circumstances. But let’s also encourage one another by sharing with others what we’re praying on their behalf.