In this sermon, Pastor Neil, give us more suggestions concerning what to pray for when you don’t know, outlining how we can pray for others. Here are some excerpts:
Pray for a God-Pleasing Life
In Colossians 1:10-12, Paul gives us a picture of what a life worthy of the Lord looks like, a life that is pleasing to Him – the kind of life God desires us to live as the recipients of His grace. He names four traits of a God-centered, God-pleasing life:
The life that is pleasing to God bears kingdom fruit in every good work.
The life that is pleasing to God continues to grow in the knowledge of God. Not just knowledge about God; not just head knowledge; but knowledge of both head and heart: Relational, experiential knowledge combined with head knowledge of the Bible and Christian doctrine.
More Qualities of a God-Pleasing Life
The life that is pleasing to God is continually being strengthened with the strength that comes from communion with God, producing patience to endure both hard times and difficult people. It is a life characterized by staying power, a life that exhibits the qualities of love Paul describes for us in 1 Corinthians 13.
The life that is pleasing to God is epitomized by thanksgiving. Joyful thanksgiving. Exuberant thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is not just a holiday that comes around once a year. It is a way of life. Listen to what Martin Luther said: “It is clear that a sacrifice must consist of praise and thanks, or must at least not be without praise and thanks, if it is to please God. We cannot give God anything; for everything is already His, and all we have comes from Him. We can only give Him praise, thanks, and honor” (Martin Luther, “What Luther Says,” Christianity Today, Vol. 34, No. 17).
These are qualities of a life that is pleasing to God, a life worthy of the Lord who has done everything for us and for our salvation. In response to all the gifts of His grace, what kind of lives are we to live?
Pray for Others– That They May Live Lives Worthy of His Name
The prophet Micah says: He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)
Do this and you will please God.
When you don’t know how to pray for someone, pray these things. Pray what Paul prayed for the Colossians– that we may all know the fullness of God’s revealed will for our lives; that we may all live lives worthy of His name. Pray that we may all please Him in every way. Because He is forever worthy.