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A Prayer Worth Remembering and Modeling, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
March 16, 2022 7:05 am

A Prayer Worth Remembering and Modeling, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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March 16, 2022 7:05 am

Jesus Christ, Our All in All: A Study of Colossians

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Prayer is a common experience to most. In some cases prayer is a formal expression that happens in a church service. Other times it's a sentence or two that's whispered privately during our day. But whether formal or spontaneous, prayer is an essential discipline for expressing our deepest thoughts to God. Well today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll points to a passage in Colossians chapter 1, where the Apostle Paul provides a powerful lesson on prayer. Looking for ways to better connect with your Creator? Chuck titled today's message, A Prayer Worth Remembering and Modeling. I'm confident of two things about each one of you.

Two things. Even though I don't know most of you personally. First I'm confident that you pray. You are a person that believes in prayer. You may or may not use a prayer list. You may not know how to do it like others know how to do it, but you on your own pray. Second thing I know about you is that when you pray, you remember those you love, those you know well. Because you know them well, you can pray specifically for them.

Both are commendable. These are great habits to cultivate. The habit of prayer for those you know and those you love. More than you realize, it keeps them on their feet. Keeps them going.

So keep doing it. Now there's another side to all of this you may not have thought of before, which Paul reminds us of when we come to the first chapter of Colossians verses 9 through 14, and that is praying for people you don't know. People you have never met. Do you pray for them as you pray for those you know and love? You may be surprised to know that I've taken a quick survey through the scriptures on my own and found there are numerous prayers offered up by individuals praying for people they never met.

People they did not know. I believe people prayed for me during my growing up years that didn't know me, but they knew my parents and probably knew what my parents were having to deal with. I remember the first prayer of my mother. God help you if you ever do that again. Very clear in my mind. She knew me. There were people who were prayed for all around the world and I wonder if you're one of those that intercedes for them.

Today my challenge is that you become that. And this is a prayer worth remembering and modeling. We heard of a tragedy that struck central Arkansas. As treacherous tornadoes swept through, flooding along with the enormous velocity of winds. Cynthia and I indirectly received an email from Dennis Rainey who lives there and carries on his family life ministry and he mentioned the loss of lives of those within their own ranks. It broke our hearts. We did not know any of them, but we prayed for them. One was a story of a father who was doing what fathers do, getting the children, getting his wife into a place of protection and before he could slam the the door shut to protect them that tornado hit and the house was splintered and he was killed along with his children, two of his children. Heartbreaking situation.

Imagine that. You're safe and up above your daddy or your husband is lost and gone and your siblings. When we heard that, we didn't need to know their names. We called on God to meet the deep needs of the lives of those, not just that family, but the others.

Dozens of others who have lost home and some of them lost heart to go on. Now we have before us from this prayer guidance on how to go about it. I've given you an outline to follow and we've kept it very simple. Simple two, three, four points we want to make about this prayer that's worth remembering. So let's follow it. First, we are to pray for others in this category continually.

Now why would I say that? Look at your Bible. Colossians 1 9. So we have not stopped praying for you. That's where I get the word continually.

Pray for others continually. Look over at chapter 2 in verse 1. A bit of a surprise in the letter where Paul says, I want you to know, still writing to the people, and by the way, he had never met these Colossians. The little church is never mentioned once in the book of Acts, which is a travelogue of Paul's journeys. He doesn't mention the Colossians because he was never with them.

Never in the city, as best we can tell. But look at verse 1 of chapter 2. I want you to know how much I have agonized for you. The Greek word is agona. A-g-o-n-a.

We get literally our word from that. Agona. Agonized for you and for the church at Laodicea and for many other believers who have never met me personally. He doesn't know them. He doesn't know the people in the church at Laodicea and most likely was never there either. But he prays for them. Now observe in his consistent faithfulness to pray for them that he had to have information.

How would he know about them if he didn't know them personally? Well, remember the name Epiphras from our last time together? Verse 7, where he writes, you learned, meaning the people of Colossae, you learned about the good news, and here he names him, from Epiphras, our beloved co-worker, Christ's faithful servant.

He's helping us on your behalf. I take it that Epiphras was from Colossae and that Paul has a friendship with Epiphras and when he comes to Rome to sit down alongside Paul, who by the way is chained to a Roman soldier as Paul is under house arrest, writing this letter, that's why it's called one of the prison epistles, this and Philippians and Ephesians and Philemon, all in that category, Paul writing the Colossians mentions Epiphras. He says, I've talked with Epiphras in so many words, he says, and he's helped us on your behalf, in fact he says in verse 8, he told us about the love for others that the Holy Spirit has given you. Hold your place and look at chapter 4 verse 12. One of the great ways of working your way through letters and books of the Bible is to correlate verses.

Look at 4-12. Epiphras, a member of your own fellowship and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends his greetings. He always prays earnestly for you, asking God to make you strong and mature and fully confident that you are following the whole will of God.

Got it? That's where we go. When we want to pray for others, we pray continually for them. Now in the case of the Colossians, you may have forgotten, they're living under the barrage of false teachers who are infiltrating this little church. These false teachers are coming with their smooth talk, albeit their deceptive motives, and they are badgering these Christians in Colossae, telling them in so many words, look, there's a higher way to believe than the way you've been taught by this guy named Epiphras. There's a deeper life you've never entered into. Let us take you into this new doctrine, and they promise that they will become recipients of a higher touch of knowledge than they would ever get from Epiphras. And so Paul is saying, I never stopped praying for you knowing you're under that pressure.

And by the way, let me add this. Some of you may have been cornered by false teachers. You may have been, I might even add, some of you may already be under the influence of a false teacher. And you don't realize it's a false teacher. He doesn't wear a badge that says, I'm a phony. That's not the way false teachers come across. You know, a counterfeit dollar isn't yellow in the shape of a triangle with number 11 on it. That don't fool anybody. Looks exactly like a 20 dollar bill.

Looks exactly like a 50 dollar bill. False teachers look exactly like true teachers. But they're teaching a false doctrine. So what does Paul say in verse nine? He continues, we ask God to give you, look at this, the New Living Translation renders this, to give you complete knowledge of his will. Notice it's God's will, not the will of some teacher that's coming into town. And to give you spiritual wisdom. And to give you, implied here, spiritual understanding. You see, false teachers promise you knowledge and wisdom and understanding, but it isn't the knowledge of God's will. It's their new doctrine that is stimulating and they deliver it with great charisma and persuasion. Some of the best communicators on the planet are false teachers. You forget that. You think if they're gifted and they're competent and there's a crowd that's come to hear them, they must be worth following.

Watch it. I like the way Warren Wiersbe writes about false teachers and deceivers. I quote, the false teachers promised the Colossian believers that they would be in the know if they accepted these new doctrines. Words like knowledge, wisdom, understanding were a part of the religious vocabulary.

So Paul used these words in his prayer. Satan is so deceptive, writes Wiersbe. He likes to borrow the Christian vocabulary, but he does not use the Christian dictionary. That's a good insight.

I wish I'd had that insight, but Wiersbe had it. They use a great vocabulary, sounds just like what we teach, but they've got a different dictionary. Here's our dictionary. It's called the Bible, but their dictionary would be half a verse here, a word or two there as they build their false doctrine. Wiersbe concludes long before the false teachers had adopted these terms, the words had been in the Christian vocabulary. You will observe when you read false teachers or when you hear them, you will hear words that sound a lot like your religious upbringing. Well sure, that attraction, but they're teaching you a whole new nomenclature and they're telling you really this is deeper than you'll ever get if you limit your knowledge and understanding to the Bible.

In the first century and the second century as well, these came to be known, these false teachers, as Gnostics, G-N-O-S-T-I-C-S, from the Greek word gnosis, meaning knowledge or to know, and they were promoters of this knowledge that they brought based on philosophical meanderings, not biblical truth. Keep in mind verse 9 says we ask God to give you complete knowledge, so he's praying for the Colossians that they will have discernment to cut through all the deception and realize that they're being led astray by these false teachers. Paul's offer is that they might know the will of God, knowledge of his will, and his prayer is this, that they might know spiritual wisdom and an understanding. How will you know when you have the truth? Get this, right here in the passage, just keep reading, verse 10, then, see it's carrying on the same thought, then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord.

That's one proof. Your life is pleasing to the Lord, you're not being led astray. Your life will be marked by a genuine God Christ-likeness. Your lives will produce every kind of good fruit, love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, patience, self-control, to name a few of the fruit, and all the while you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.

A great checkpoint if you are wondering if what you've been reading or who you've been running with is really teaching the truth is to say, is my life a more godly life than it was before? Am I honoring and pleasing the Lord in producing the fruit of the Spirit? Am I more patient? Am I kind? Am I gentle?

Am I known for true love? I love it the way Paul just puts his finger on the truth over in chapter 2 verse 10. Take a quick glance at 2 10. This letter is all, can be correlated so well as you can see truth revealed here and there.

Look at 2 10. You are complete through your union with Christ who is the head over every ruler and authority. You've got it all in Christ. If you're complete in Christ there's nothing lacking. Now there's room to grow and there are things to learn of course but you'll not have truth kept from you if you keep following Christ.

So here's a good model to follow. Since it's a prayer to to remember and to model, let me suggest this. Don't just pray for someone else's health or success or material needs or social connections or relationships. Pray for these specific things that are mentioned right here because I need to warn you ours is a culture of deception.

You who are discerning hardly need to be told that. At every turn there is someone inviting you to come and and to learn another way of thinking about life and and before long you you you you'll wind up feeling like you're a level above others and you start criticizing other solid ministries and good sound biblical teachers. I like the way Kent Hughes put it, if your doctrine lifts you so high that your feet cannot reach the ground it is false doctrine you're following. Our doctrine ought to keep us firmly fixed on planet earth, aware of our world and in touch. See again verse 10, the way you live will honor and please the Lord.

Your lives will produce every kind of good fruit and you will grow as you learn of God and learn and come to know him better and better. Can I give you a couple of three tips about false teachers? I'm going to warn you here.

Here are my warnings. Number one, watch out for any teacher or ministry who encourages exclusivity. We are the exclusive group. Only at this church will you hear the truth. That's a false ministry. That's a false ministry. Stay away from a place like that. Only here will you learn what you should hear.

It's the old us four and no more and I'm not sure about you three. It's that suspicious it's that suspicious spirit. Watch out for people like that. Here's another one. Guard against those who regularly criticize good teachers and reliable ministries. If the one you've been following regularly criticizes sound teachers and strong churches, you're following the wrong individual.

Here's the third. If the one you are following promotes himself or herself, in any way, you're following the wrong leader. Pride goes before a fall.

I've never seen a false teacher who was not self-serving. Often there is a touch of arrogance and unteachability. The Corinthian style of man worship sort of flows over into the clear into the cliques that were forming, no doubt, right here in Colossi and I warn us lest they begin to form here in the city where we live. By the way, our radio ministry is beginning to reach into other countries and we've discovered that one of those countries is most concerned now about the about the cults that have moved in because the cults sow an unrest among the people and they become exclusive.

This is just for us and they often speak against the government of those countries and on and on I could go. So that's the first part. Pray continually for those you've not met. Here's the second. Verses 11 and 12 pray for their strength. Now where do I get that? Right in the text.

Look for yourself. Verse 11. We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power.

That's the first thing he mentioned specifically when he prays for these he's not met. We pray that you will have a strength that's based on God's glorious power so that you will have all the endurance and patience you need. Part of being strengthened in God's power is cultivating the ability to cultivate endurance and patience. Let me break those words apart. Endurance is from an interesting Greek word hupomone.

H-U-P-O-M-O-N-E. From hupo means under, mone means to abide. It's the idea of holding up under, bearing up under and it often has in mind adverse circumstances. As you get strength from the Lord and I'm praying that you will, you will be able to hold up against an adverse circumstances that will come and invariably they will come. And second, you will be a person of patience.

See the word right there in verse 11 that you will have all endurance and patience. This is a long word macrothymia. Macro meaning long.

Thymia, we get our word thermometer from it. It's the idea of long suffering, being able to endure long heated seasons. And in this case, macrothymia usually has in mind patience with difficult people. So endurance has in mind adverse circumstances that you'll be able to hold up and patience have to do, has to do with dealing with people that are difficult. And I can testify of the two, the latter is the more difficult. Dealing with adverse circumstances is hard enough.

Dealing with difficult, sometime impossible people is a real drain on your patience. And here he says, may you have the kind of patience of that, that you need. And look at what he adds. May you be filled with joy.

Aren't you glad he added that? This is wonderful. In the process of dealing with people that are difficult in situations that are adverse, don't get negative.

Don't become sour. You're listening to the voice of pastor and author Chuck Swindoll. This is Insight for Living and Chuck is presenting his second message in his brand new 10-part series through the New Testament letter of Colossians.

And to learn more about this ministry, visit us online at Well, right now you'll be pleased to learn Chuck has written a commentary on Colossians. In fact, this hardbound volume includes his commentary on Philippians and Philemon as well. It's the kind of book you'll likely spread open next to your Bible as you dig deeper into this satisfying letter from Paul. Chuck's helpful notes and observations will help you discover the rich theological treasures in Colossians.

To purchase a copy of the Living Insights commentary on Colossians, go to slash offer. Or call us if you're listening in the United States, dial 1-800-772-8888. In the last several weeks, we've heard from thousands of friends from all around the world who've affirmed the value of these daily visits with Chuck. Many have told us they can trace their listening back 10, 20, 30 years and more. It's wonderful to see what God has accomplished through this legacy of God's faithfulness. A listener from Tyler, Texas left a note on our webpage that said, I met Chuck over the radio back in the late 80s.

I was radically unsaved. And God used Insight for Living to light the way. As a result, I met Jesus in 1989. Well, this feedback motivates us to work alongside you so that men and women all around the world receive the truth of the Bible.

And we believe the best days are yet ahead as we deepen our friendship with partners like you. To give a donation today, call us. If you're listening in the United States, dial 1-800-772-8888. Or give a donation online at Join us when Chuck Swindoll continues to describe a prayer worth remembering and modeling, Thursday on Insight for Living. The preceding message, A Prayer Worth Remembering and Modeling, was copyrighted in 2014 and 2022, and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2022 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-22 02:54:54 / 2023-05-22 03:03:20 / 8

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