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How to Pray for Believers - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
March 15, 2023 6:00 am

How to Pray for Believers - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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March 15, 2023 6:00 am

Prayer is a powerful way to align our hearts with what God is doing in the world. In the message "How to Pray for Believers" Skip shares what the apostle Paul taught about praying for Christians you know.


Paul has a prayer list.

When he writes to churches like Colossae and Ephesus and Thessalonians, he includes the fact. He says, I'm praying for you, but then he tells them what he's praying for them for. He actually gives the prayer list. So what we're going to look at is four things on Paul's prayer list for the church at Colossae. Prayer is a powerful way to align our hearts with what God is doing in the world. And today on Connect with Skip Hyten. Skip shares a special message about what you can learn from the apostle Paul about praying for other believers.

But first. Staying in God's Word is the best way to connect with God. That's why we've made these life-changing Bible teachings available to you and so many others around the world. And if you want to see more people come into a relationship with the living God through his life-changing Word, you can do that through your generous gift today. Your gift will help accomplish Skip's vision to get these messages into more major cities in this new year and reach more people across the globe with the gospel. To give, just visit slash donate. That's slash donate. Or you can call 800-922-1888.

800-922-1888. Thank you. Now, we're in Colossians chapter 1 as we join Skip for his message. Just a word about this topic in general. I've made a little bit of note in my own heart and my mind over the years. Whenever I teach on the subject of prayer, it's like the whole congregation sinks a little bit lower in their seats. Maybe hangs their head just a little bit more because if there's one area I think all of us believe needs improvement, it's the area of prayer. Do I have that right? I've never met a Christian who says, I'm totally satisfied with my communication with God.

We all know that that could use some improvement. Truth is, there is something inside of us that doesn't want to pray. It's called our flesh. We want to be independent. It's who we are.

It's how people are. We have to fight against that and especially as we believers who live in this blessed country that we live in, we can take that for granted. I'm going to have you listen to this.

I'm going to put it up on the screen. This is from 1863. This is from President Abraham Lincoln warning America with these words. We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven.

We have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown, but we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us and we have vainly imagined in the deceitfulness of our hearts that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.

Hey, that was 1863. I'm just guessing that we haven't improved since then. I'm actually believing that we've gotten worse as a nation when it comes to God-dependence and even in our churches, we have become less dependent on God. You know, I've discovered for most people, prayer is sort of like that oxygen mask that's in the airplane that the stewardess tells you as she's preparing you for your flight. You know, it's there if you need it.

Glad I've never really had to use it, but if I ever do need to use it, I know it's there. That's how people view prayer, many of them. Now, just a few general words about prayer. What is prayer? Well, I guess at its basic level, we could say prayer is just talking to God.

It is. But it's more than that. Prayer is asking God to do what only God can do. But even more than that, prayer at its best level is when we are aligning ourselves with the purposes of God. That's effective prayer, aligning ourselves with the purposes of God. Why should we pray? Well, we should pray for two basic reasons.

Number one, it honors God. Do you know that God loves it when you depend on Him? You say, I don't want to be weak. God loves your weakness. He loves it. Be weak before Him.

Be dependent on Him. It honors God when you are. Secondly, it's helpful. It helps people.

Prayer works, otherwise we don't do it. It actually is effective. It helps. Third, it's not just honoring to God. It's not just helpful to others.

It's actually healthful for you. Many studies have been done that people who pray are healthier than people who do not. Do you know that's a promise in the Bible? You know Proverbs 3, that you should trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not unto your own understanding.

In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths. You know what it says right after that? It says, this will be health to your flesh and strength for your bones.

It is a healthy way to live. If you visit New York City, right in front of Rock Center, Rockefeller Center, there's this huge 45-foot statue of Atlas with bulging muscles. You know what he's holding on his shoulders?

The world. He's got the world on his shoulders and it's impressive. He is straining and struggling and holding up the world. What's interesting is right across the street from that statue is a church, St. Patrick's Cathedral. Very impressive cathedral. If you went inside, just on the other side of the altar is a short small statue of the boy Jesus holding the world in His left hand.

Not straining, not struggling, not sweating. Here's my question. Which side of this street do you want to live on? Prayer will put you on the right side of the street. The right side of the street is a life of dependence upon Him in prayer. Now, when I pray, I typically work off a prayer list. I put it on my phone. I will often take walks and pull out my phone and just sort of run through my list. I pray for you.

You're on my list. I pray for this church. I pray for a number of things.

I did it this morning. Paul has a prayer list. When he writes to churches like Colossae and Ephesus and Thessalonians, he includes the fact. He says, I'm praying for you. But then he tells them what he's praying for them for.

He actually gives the prayer list. So what we're going to look at is four things on Paul's prayer list for the church at Colossae. Now, just a note about Paul's prayers. Paul prayed for the heart of the matter, the core issue. All the fat was trimmed off.

All the fluff was taken away. And if you want to learn how to pray effectively, you will use biblical prayers like Paul's as your template. So Paul is going to teach us how to pray for believers.

Let's begin in verse 9 of Colossians chapter 1. We're going to read down to verse 14 as we get his little prayer list. For this reason, we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God, strengthened with all might according to His glorious power for all patience and longsuffering with joy, giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. Paul prays for four items. First, to know the will of God, verse 9. He says, for this reason, we also, since the day we heard, do not cease to pray for you and ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will. Now, something is interesting, and most of us, honestly, would just pass over this stuff whenever we read our Bibles. Today, we don't pass over it. Notice in verse 9, he says, for this reason.

For what reason? Well, for what he just spoke about. Let me remind you of what we talked about last week and what precedes this. Paul said, look, even though I've never met you, you've been exposed to the gospel, you believe the gospel, that belief produced love for people, that belief also engendered hope for the future, and you are actively spreading or sharing your faith with others. It is multiplying.

There's fruit like crazy. In other words, I've heard about you guys. You are doing so amazing in your Christian life, and because of that, I'm praying for you. That is typically not how we pray. Honestly, we would think, as American Christians, it ought to read like this.

Because you guys in Colossae are doing so well in your Christian faith, you are so amazing. Therefore, I'm not going to pray for you. I'm going to pray for people who really need to be prayed for. That's how we pray. We have our prayer meetings, and so what are the prayer needs? Aunt Mabel has cancer and Uncle George needs a new job. So we're praying for all the needs, and we should.

But the point is this. We never reach a point in our Christian life where we don't need prayer. If you're doing really well or you know somebody that is, please don't write them off your prayer list because there's no urgent need.

Pray for them for this reason. Since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you. Let's get down to the nitty-gritty and ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will. You know, knowing God's will is first and foremost in the Christian experience. I probably have been asked that question more than any other question by new believers. How can I know the will of God?

That should be important to us. That was Jesus' purpose statement. He said, my food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work. And even in the darkest moment of Jesus' life, when He was facing His own death, He said, nevertheless, not My will, but Your will be done. And He taught us to pray that way. He said, pray, our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. So when Saul of Tarsus was having his conversion experience and he fell off his horse and he looked up into heaven at the voice talking to him, trying to find out what that was all about, he first said, who are you, Lord? Jesus said, I'm Jesus. You thought I was dead.

I'm not. Second question, what do you want me to do? That's a question for the will of God. What is Your will for my life? What do you want me to do? So let the will of God be your lifelong pursuit.

It is the most adventurous pursuit you will ever engage in. You want some fun in your life? Discover what God's will is for your life and chase that down. Seek first the kingdom of God, as Jesus said, and all these things will be added to you. Now, I've discovered something about Christians and the will of God. Some, not all, but frequently, you'll find Christians who make finding the will of God really weird.

They get all weird about the will of God. And what I mean by that is they're either a mystical or be circumstantial. So mystical, it's like, well, it's a feeling I get or it's an impression that I get. That's the mystical.

Others are circumstantial. Wow. A parking space opened up in front of that store.

Must be God's will that I stop and park here and shop in that store. Really? You know, that's like the guy who went on a diet. Hear about this guy? He went on a diet. And one day, he was so serious about his diet that he decided that he wouldn't drive to work in his normal driving pattern, his route. He changed it so that he wouldn't go by the bakery that had the best stuff. So he didn't want to go by the bakery, didn't want the temptation, so he would change his way to work. One day, however, he came to work with a big smile on his face and a coffee cake, a huge coffee cake.

And he said, Yeah, I know. I went by the bakery. I forgot my routing. But I saw this cake in the window. And so I prayed. I said, Lord, if it's your will that I get that coffee cake, I prayed that a parking space will open up right in front of the door.

And he goes, And wouldn't you know it, the eighth time around the block, there it was. Okay, that's weird. But honestly, some Christians get so weird, they just like, open your Bible. That's the will of God from my life. Really? But it says Judas went and hung himself.

Be careful that you don't do that kind of stuff. So when it comes to finding the will of God, is there a key to that? Yeah, there's a word that is used twice in our passage.

And I want to draw your attention to it. It's the word knowledge, knowledge, that you would be filled with the knowledge of His will in verse 10, that you would increase in the knowledge of God. And notice also, that God's will is tied to verse nine, all wisdom, and spiritual what? Understanding, knowledge, wisdom, understanding, it sounds to me just by the words being used, that the will of God is tied to us exercising our brain cells, far more than getting a feeling or an impression or pointing to a sundry verse. Do you know that knowledge is one of the key themes of Paul the Apostle in all of his letters? There's many examples, I'll give you a sampling. First Corinthians one, I thank God that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge.

Ephesians chapter one is another one, he prays that God would give them the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. Knowledge is important. Some people don't think it's important. Some people think the feeling and what you feel is more important than what you know. And so people will give this piece of very bad advice.

I don't know what to do. I don't know what God wants me to do. So their friend will say, do what your heart tells you to do. Bad advice.

You know why it's bad advice? Heart is deceitful. Jeremiah 17. The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.

Who can know it? So if you're following your heart, ouch. So the prophet Hosea said about God's people, my people are destroyed because of lack of knowledge, not lack of feeling, not lack of impression, not lack of excitement, lack of knowledge. There's always a direct correlation between knowing God's Word and knowing God's will. It's God's Word and the knowledge of His Word, the principles of His Word that help you understand God's will. Biblical illiteracy will render you clueless when it comes to the will of God. This is why we stress what the Bible teaches and we go through it expositionally.

You know the four times? Four times the Lord Jesus chided the religious leaders with the question, have you not read? Don't you guys read your book? Don't you read that Bible?

Don't you know what it says? And this is why we love our Wednesday night group. Listen, I love Wednesday night group, our people that come on Wednesday night. I would put them up against many pastors when it comes to Bible knowledge, spiritual maturity, and what the Bible says about things in life. So when you pray for your Christian friends, this is a good thing to put on the prayer list. Pray that God will give them a hunger for His Word so that they might know His will.

That's prayer request number one, to know the will of God. The second one is to have a walk with God. Verse 10, that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God. Now, I hope you know that whenever the word walk is used in the Bible, not whenever, but many times, like here, it is a metaphor. It's a word picture. And it's a picture, a word picture for a lifestyle. A walk is a lifestyle. It refers to your daily conduct.

It's how you do life. It's how you roll your walk. So you walked from your car to your seat, you will walk from your seat to the car afterwards, you walk into your house, you have a walk. Your soul also has a walk. It says in the Old Testament that Enoch and Noah walked with God. That simply means that they had a life that was conformed to the will of God.

They walked what they knew. You see, that's the connection. There's always a connection between growing, knowing things, and then growing in what we know, living what we know. There's always a connection between learning and living. So this is a mind controlled by the knowledge of God that produces a life that walks with God.

Always a connection between learning and living. Over the years, I have met believers who have said, well, yeah, Bible studies, okay, but I belong to a special study group. We're into the deeper truths of God. Sounds very similar to the ancient Gnostics that Paul is writing against in this book. But many times these people want the deeper truths. They're rallying around somebody's book that a friend gave them or a set of teachings from some guy who takes an obscure biblical text and uses it to make predictions about what's going on in the world or in the future. They're going so deep that they go off the deep end, and they're getting so smart they get dumb.

Listen, you graduate from Bible knowledge when your life does what it says. When you walk, what you know is God's will and God's Word. So we have a walk. Different people walk differently. Soldiers have a walk. Cowboys have a walk. Think John Wayne.

I was reading several articles this week, and they all said the same thing that psychologists say that you can tell a lot about somebody's personality by the gate, their cadence, how they walk. That concludes Skip Heitzig's message from the series Always Only Jesus. Find the full message as well as books, booklets, and full teaching series at Right now, we want to share about a special resource that will help you better understand and follow God's will. What is God's will for your life? Skip Heitzig has biblical direction. The will of God is not some mystical, impractical, ethereal process that makes you weird. It is not a maze.

It is not a puzzle that you have to put together and figure it out. In fact, sometimes the will of God is so plain and straightforward, the Bible just tells you what the will of God is. Shed the Bible's bright light on your path ahead with Discovering God's Will, an eight-message package from Pastor Skip. You can uncover and understand what the Lord wants to show you about his will.

It's not always easy, but the answers are in there. We want to send you these insightful messages as thanks for your gift today to support Connect with Skip Heitzig and help expand this teaching ministry to more major cities in the US in 2023. So request your copy when you give today and begin to let God direct your path for your good and his glory. Just call 800-922-1888 or visit slash offer.

That's slash offer. Now, real quick, we want to invite you to follow Skip on social media to get important updates and biblical encouragement. Just follow Skip on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for all the latest from Skip and from this ministry.

That's at Skip Heitzig, at Skip H-E-I-T-Z-I-G. Tomorrow, Skip brings the conclusion of his message, How to Pray for Believers, and shares more ways you can pray for your brothers and sisters in Christ. So when you pray for your Christian friends, pray that for them. Pray for strength over the long haul in the midst of the onslaught of the enemies that they face, but also that they'll have joy as they do it. Connect with Skip Heitzig is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-15 05:36:31 / 2023-03-15 05:45:23 / 9

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