Posted by: mikenicholsblog | October 18, 2017

thoughts and prayers

“Prayer” is a universal word!  In moments of difficulty, pain, and even national or international tragedy we will often hear public words like, “our thoughts and prayers are with you.” As an avid sports fan, I often get updates from Bleacher Report about what is happening with my favorite sports teams.  Last night was a reminder that the human element of pain causes people who are normally known for their skill to lift up words of prayer. A player from the Boston Celtics had a gruesome ankle injury, and other players around the NBA immediately started sending out notes using the word “prayer.” My point isn’t to draw attention to people, but rather to the universality of the word “prayer.”

Often the word “prayer” is used in difficult times to communicate care and concern for the troubles and trials of others, and not because there is a real depth of prayer as part of their normal routine. God allows and uses difficulty, pain and tragedy for His glory, and I am glad that people are urged to look heavenward in those times. God can speak and minister in ways that we can’t fathom, and my hope is that all people everywhere come to know the true God of their “thoughts and prayers.” In looking at prayer, move with me from the universality of it to the individuality of prayer for all who genuinely follow Christ.

Christ-followers are often overwhelmed with prayer issues. If you are like me, there is always more to pray over than we think we can handle. There are the family issues, work issues, personal issues, church issues, people who have health issues, financial issues … issues, issues, issues! For me, keeping a prayer list with different prayer issues for different days is a way to cover the various issues that need prayer in my life. Are you tired of the word issues yet?! The point is that we all have a lot to pray about. I am so glad God the Father wants His children to come freely and ask boldly about the issues that confront us. However….

There is far more to prayer that just the issues. Paul brought this front and center for me in our reading over the last several days. In his relationship with the church in Colosse, he gave all Christ-followers a model to use when praying for other believers. Note that he had never met the Colossians, but loved them and prayed for them. If you are a consistent “issue” (and issues are important to pray about) person in prayer please consider using Paul’s model for the Christ-followers closest to you … your family. Please read these verses carefully.

So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better. We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy,  always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light.
Colossians 1:9-12 (NLT)

Paul was writing these words to the Colossians. Why not take this passage and personalize it for those we love who are Christ-followers? After all, aren’t these words what we desire? And by the way, praying Scripture is a model that is surely pleasing to the Father.

You may be thinking, “But what about my issues?” Our God, who knows the issues, also wants His children to have spiritual wisdom and understanding. He wants them to produce every kind of good fruit (just to name a few of the points from the verses above). Wouldn’t it be wise to print Colossians 1:9-12, and at least once a week step away from the issues, and pray the will of God from these verses on the Christ-followers in your family? Consider it!

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