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Paul was a man of prayer. He was a great Christian, an outstanding scholar,
a model missionary, a giant among men--spiritually, morally and
intellectually, but above all he was a man of prayer. His Christian life
began in prayer, Acts 9:10-11; he prayed for himself, 2 Cor. 12:7-9, he
asked others to pray for him, Eph. 6:18-20, and he practiced the holy art of
intercession, praying for others, like his Lord, John 17:9.
It is significant to notice that Paul's prayers were full of praises. Notice
his praises in Col. 1:3 and 12. And so not only at Thanksgiving, and not
just at meals, but always and in all things...give thanks! A study on PRAYER
is also a study on PRAISE.
THE CHARACTERISTICS OF PAUL’S PRAYER
Verse 9 tells us that:
(1) It was marked by PERSISTENCY.
"We also...do not cease to pray for you”
Paul knew something about unceasing prayer
1 Thess. 5:17—Pray without ceasing. Compare Luke 18:1…
And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray,
and not to faint;
Prayer is warfare.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities,
against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against
spiritual wickedness in high places.
If we give up when we are praying the battle goes to the enemy.
And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and
in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread
from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of
(2) It was marked by INTENSITY.
Notice the word "desire" in verse 9. It indicates that Paul was passionate
in his praying; his prayers were filled with a deep longing. There was
intensity about them. Compare Matt. 17:21…
Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.
(3) It was marked by UNITY.
Paul says, "We...pray for you." We may pray alone, Matt. 6:6 [in secret];
Jas. 5:17 [Elijah praying for rain], but there is special power in united,
And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the
prisoners heard them.
Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching
any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which
is in heaven.
These are the characteristics of Paul’s prayer: Persistency, Intensity, &
THE CONTENT OF PAUL'S PRAYER
In Col. 1:9-14 we are told that Paul prayed for seven things:
(1) That they might be PERCEPTIVE of God’s will.
We see this in verse 9. He prayed that these Colossians "might be filled
with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding. We
need spiritual enlightenment in order that we might know the will of God and
do it. By nature we cannot understand the things of the Spirit of God.
1 Corinthians 2:14
But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they
are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are
[Compare John 3:2-7.]
(2) That they might be PLEASING to the Lord. This is mentioned in verse 10,
"that ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing...".
For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches
of them that reproached thee fell on me.
For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet
pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.
(3) That they might be PROFITABLE in service. Verse 10 says, "being fruitful
in every good work ..." Until we become Christians our lives are
unprofitable, and it is only when we are converted that they are made
10 I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds: 11
Which in time past was to thee unprofitable, but now profitable to thee and
The will of God is that our lives should manifest the fruit of the Spirit.
[Gal. 5:22-23, 1 Cor. 13:4-7 and 2 Pet. 1:5-7.] In John 15, we find that
there are three stages: fruit, verse 2; more fruit, verse 2; and much fruit,
verses 5 and 8. [Compare John Mark’s progress in 2 Tim 4:11 with Acts
(4) That they might be PROGRESSING in the Christian life. Verse 10
continues, “…and increasing in the knowledge of God”, and the operative word
is the word "increasing". Paul longed that these Christians should grow. See
the beautiful picture in Hos. 14:5-7. The Christian life is in three stages:
little children, young men, and fathers, 1 John 2:12-14.
(5) That they might be POWERFUL for God’s glory. Verse 11 goes on,
"strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power". Paul is
praying that they might have the experience of Pentecost, Acts 2:4 [endued
w/ power from on high.]
That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be
strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good
Acts 1:8 [ye shall receive power AFTER the Holy Ghost…]
(6) That they might have PATIENCE.
Notice three vital words in verse 11, "unto all patience and longsuffering
"Patience" here means "endurance in the face of trial", Jas. 5:11.
"Longsuffering" indicates "gentleness" and "loving kindness", 1 Cor. 13:4.
The apostle prays that these Christians might endure in the face of fierce
testing, that they might do so with a gentle and loving spirit, and that
they might be filled with joy, even though called upon to suffer for their
Lord. [Acts 5:41, 1 Pet. 4:13.]
(7) That they might be filled with PRAISE.
It is important to notice the difference between praise and prayer. There
are some things for which we are to pray; but there are blessings for which
we are to thank God because He has already given them to us, notice the word
"hath" three times in verses 12 and 13, and the word "have" in verse 14. We
do not need to pray, nor should we pray for these things which we have. What
(i) For His PROVISION, verse 12.
He has given us an "inheritance". [Rom. 8:16-17.]
(ii) For His POWER, verse 13.
See what He has delivered us from and translated us to! [Ex. 14:13-31.]
(iii) For His PARDON, verse 14.
How we should thank God that all our sins have been removed from us, Psa.
103:12; blotted out, Isa. 44:22; cast into the depths of the sea, Mic. 7:19;
and that God will remember them against us no more, Heb. 10:17. Thank God!
Oh. how great Thy loving kindness,
Vaster, broader than the sea:
Oh, how marvelous Thy goodness,
Lavished all on me!
Yes, I rest in Thee, Beloved,
Know what wealth of grace is Thine,
Know Thy certainty of promise,
And have made it mine.
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