Oct24SunOctober 24, 2021
Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving! (Col 3:2 (NKJV)
For years God has put on my heart to pray for the church, often praying the prayers of Paul. More recently I have been compelled to be even more intentional to pray these prayers for the church of Jesus Christ. I have been convicted to pray these prayers also for myself so that I can pray with more of God’s love and compassion for His church.
As I read and pray the prayers of Paul, I see his love for Jesus and his heart for the church which is the heart of Jesus for His church. Paul’s love and desire to serve God with his whole heart causes him to pray for the brothers and sisters day and night with joy and thanksgiving. He tells them in his letters and prayers that he loves them and that they have a special place in his heart. He tells them that he longs for them with the tender compassion of Christ Jesus. He desires to see them so that he can impart spiritual gifts to them, encourage them in the faith and be encouraged by their faith.
Are you convicted yet about what and how you pray for the church of Jesus Christ whom He loves and gave His life for her. I am! Keep reading. There is more!
Paul reminds the brothers and sisters in his letters and prayers that they have been reconciled to God through the death of Jesus in His physical body and as a result have been brought into His own presence and stand before Him holy and blameless, without a single fault. He urges them to continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it!
This includes you who were once far away from God. You were His enemies, separated from Him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now He has reconciled you to Himself through the death of Christ in His physical body. As a result, He has brought you into His own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before Him without a single fault. But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News. The Good News has been preached all over the world, and I, Paul, have been appointed as God’s servant to proclaim it. (Col 1:21-23 NLT)
As I have been praying the prayers of Paul for the church I have noticed more recently that his prayers reflect how he desires the church to live, be and remain until the day of Christ’s return. He prays that the church will grow strong in the Lord. He reminds them that God will keep them strong to the end so that they will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns. Paul prays that their love will overflow more and more, and that they will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. He wants them to understand what really matters, so that they may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. He prays that they will always be filled with the fruit of their salvation—the righteous character produced in their lives by Jesus Christ, bringing much glory and praise to God! He prays, that as a result of God’s love, their hearts will be made strong, blameless, and holy as they stand before God when Jesus comes again.
He tells them that God will do this, for He is faithful to do what He says! And says, “I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”
He not only prays, he continues to preach and demonstrate the gospel of the kingdom resulting in much suffering and persecution, participating in the sufferings of Christ that continue for the body of Christ, the church. In other words, Paul loves the church so much that he says, “I am glad when I suffer for you in my body.” He is willing to lay down his life for the church as Jesus did. WOW! That is love!
I am glad when I suffer for you in my body, for I am participating in the sufferings of Christ that continue for His body, the church. God has given me the responsibility of serving His church by proclaiming His entire message to you. This message was kept secret for centuries and generations past, but now it has been revealed to God’s people. For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing His glory. So we tell others about Christ, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all the wisdom God has given us. We want to present them to God, perfectin their relationship to Christ. That’s why I work and struggle so hard, depending on Christ’s mighty power that works within me. (Col 1:24-29 NLT)
...just as Christ loved the church. He gave up His life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. (Eph 5:25-27 NLT)
So, I exhort you, as things are getting worse and the day of Jesus’s return is drawing near, grow in your love for one another and demonstrate your love for one another by praying for one another.
Here are some prayers of Paul to get you started:
Let me say first that I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith in Him is being talked about all over the world. God knows how often I pray for you. Day and night I bring you and your needs in prayer to God, whom I serve with all my heart by spreading the Good News about his Son. One of the things I always pray for is the opportunity, God willing, to come at last to see you. For I long to visit you so I can bring you some spiritual gift that will help you grow strong in the Lord. When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours. (Ro 1:8-12 NLT)
I always thank my God for you and for the gracious gifts He has given you, now that you belong to Christ Jesus. Through Him, God has enriched your church in every way—with all of your eloquent words and all of your knowledge. This confirms that what I told you about Christ is true. Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns. God will do this, for He is faithful to do what He says, and He has invited you into partnership with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. (1 Co 1:4-9)
This letter is from Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus. I am writing to all of God’s holy people in Philippi who belong to Christ Jesus, including the church leaders and deacons. May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now. And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. So it is right that I should feel as I do about all of you, for you have a special place in my heart. You share with me the special favor of God, both in my imprisonment and in defending and confirming the truth of the Good News. God knows how much I love you and long for you with the tender compassion of Christ Jesus. I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God. (Phil 1:1-11 NLT)
May God our Father and our Lord Jesus bring us to you very soon. And may the Lord make your love for one another and for all people grow and overflow, just as our love for you overflows. May He, as a result, make your hearts strong, blameless, and holy as you stand before God our Father when our Lord Jesus comes again with all His holy people. Amen. (1 Thess 3:11-13)
Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. God will make this happen, for He who calls you is faithful. (1 Thess 5:23-24)
So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of His call. May He give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do. Then the name of our Lord Jesus will be honored because of the way you live, and you will be honored along with Him. This is all made possible because of the grace of our God and Lord, Jesus Christ. (2 Thess 1:11-12 NLT)
As for us, we can’t help but thank God for you, dear brothers and sisters loved by the Lord. We are always thankful that God chose you to be among the first to experience salvation—a salvation that came through the Spirit who makes you holy and through your belief in the truth. He called you to salvation when we told you the Good News; now you can share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. With all these things in mind, dear brothers and sisters, stand firm and keep a strong grip on the teaching we passed on to you both in person and by letter. Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope, comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say. (2 Thess 2:13-17)
But the Lord is faithful; He will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one. And we are confident in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we commanded you. May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the love of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ. (2 Thess 3:3-5)
Know that I will be continuing to pray for you all.
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches...” Rev 2:7