May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. Colossians 1:11-12 (NRSV)
Have any of your prayers been answered?
Paul prayed for his friends, the people of the church at Colossae. He prayed that God would help them grow in the strength, all the while retaining their Godly thankfulness, patience and joy.
From all accounts Paul probably never laid eyes on the people there; Epaphras was probably the founder of this church. They were mostly Gentiles, and therefore not very familiar with Scripture. And where there is a lack of genuine Biblical truth, error is bound to creep-in. Paul wrote to help them correct their “faith-faults”.
Paul knew firsthand the value of patience and strength of spirit. Colossians is one of the “prison epistles” written by Paul while he was an inmate in Rome. Joy and thankfulness may be a little hard to come by when you are incarcerated, but those four words, (patient, joyful, thankful and strong) exactly describe Paul’s profile. He was passing along who he was, and what he’d experienced in Christ, to those for whom he prayed.
Sounds like a pretty good formula for intercessory prayer!
A bit of personal experience with this prayer:
Forty-three years ago today I became a father. I was exhilarated, thrilled and scared to death all at the same time! I didn’t know what to expect, and felt totally inadequate – not up to raising little humans; I hardly was out of short-pants myself!
I prayed for my daughter like Paul prayed for the Colossian church; God, let this little one grow to be strong, joyful, humbly-thankful and let her have the patience she’ll need for tough times.
It wasn’t exactly Paul’s prayer, but like that – and God has answered that prayer in a myriad of ways in the last 4 decades. I have seen much of these qualities develop in my child; I’ve seen some of it develop to the point where I now learn from her.
For whom are you interceding?
As you pray for your loved ones today, remember prayer is not a magic wand or spell. But it is something much, much better – a direct line from your heart to God’s.
When it is time for the blossoming of the prayer you have lifted to the Father, that others might grow in God’s strength, joy, patience and thankfulness – the blooms, like a spring rhododendron will surprise you, humble you with joy and make you thankful, while your faith in answered prayer grows immeasurably stronger.
In other words, that prayer will be like a boomerang – coming back to rest on your own head!
P.S. Happy Birthday, Jen.