I think I said before that I try and make this time of year have a particular emphasis on prayer, particularly praying for the church. I wrote last week about being challenged by the Lord’s Prayer in what to pray for. I decided this week to look at one of the Apostle Paul’s famous prayers and how it might help me (and you) pray for Westlake. So here is the prayer
9 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,[a] 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[b] 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. Colossians 1
In this passage Paul speaks about not “stopping praying,” he didn’t mean that whatever he was doing he was praying at the same time and he is not using exaggeration either. What I think Paul meant was that what he was about to pray for was something for which he then continued to pray for on an ongoing way. Paul is telling us that each time he prayed for the church this is was a vital part of what he prayed for.
Frankly I am fascinated by that. Here we have Paul telling us that when it comes to church life and in a secondary sense our Christian lives there are certain things we should never stop praying for. The implication is that there are some things so important to being church and being a follower of Jesus that we need to keep praying for them to be expressed in our community and in our lives. There are some issues that always need to be near the top of our prayer lists. There are certain things that should be always heard to be prayed for during our prayer meetings.
Another interesting little detail is that Paul didn’t plant the church in Colossae for which he prays for in these verses. As far as I know he never personally visited this church either. I think the implication of that fact, that Paul didn’t know this church personally, is that he is praying in general rather than specifically. Paul is praying here for what he believes is important to ALL churches not just a particular church. I think that means that if Paul were alive today, we could probably be fairly certain this prayer contains the essence of what he would pray for if he was asked to pray for the church.
The more I have read this prayer and looked at its meaning and began to grasp its implications the more I found myself making Paul’s words, my words and praying them for us as a community. I wrote out a skeleton of the prayer and then simply substituted “Westlake” for “you” and prayed.
Could I ask you to do something as we start this New Year as a church?
Would you join me in doing that?
Would you make Paul’s prayer priorities for this church your priority in prayer for our church?
So following Paul’s outline our prayer might go like this
I pray persistently and continually
That Westlake as a community will be filled
With the knowledge of God’s Will
by means of the Spirit’s wisdom
so that Westlake collectively as a church
may walk worthy
of the Lord
so as to please Him in every way
by the lives of its people.
Bearing fruit in every way,
increasing in knowledge of God
and being empowered to endure and
as well as giving thanks with joy to the father
I like to day dream a bit, so join me in a day dream. How would Westlake be different if God answered that prayer?