27 Aug 2023

A Pleasing Prayer [Colossians 1:9-14]


Many people struggle with prayer. One way we can learn to pray is to study how Paul prays. In Colossians 1 v9-14, Paul writes about a prayer that is pleasing to God. 1. The Petition. Paul prays for the Colossians to be filled with the knowledge of God's will in spiritual wisdom and understanding. He prays that they will not only know "what" God desires as described in His word, but also the "why" and the "how". He wants them to grow in the information, significance and application of God's word. 2. The Purpose. The knowledge that Paul prayed for is not for mere academic pursuit, but for their walk. He longs not just for their information, but also their transformation. He prays for the Colossians that they will walk in a way worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, having understood the counsel and wisdom of His Word. 3. The Picture . What does a life pleasing to the Lord look like? a. Fruitfulness- he or she will be full of good works b. Fellowship- he or she will enjoy communion and intimacy with God c. Fortitude- he or she will demonstrate patience/endurance with joy and thanksgiving in the midst of pain and difficulties. When was the last time you prayed like Paul? What is your chief concern in prayer? You or God? What is the content of your prayer? A shopping list of the mundane only, or the spiritual insight and obedience that Paul spoke of? What is your commitment to prayer like? Will it be regular and repeated like Paul's?



Sermon Transcript

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This week I met with a young man. He was, he is a Christian for a very short time; he had just come to faith about a month or so ago. And he was sharing with me about his joys and his struggles. He shared about his desire and his joy in telling people about Jesus, telling people about the Good News of Jesus Christ in the Bible.

But he also shares the struggles he has in his new job. He's working under difficult supervisors and bosses. And he says he faces difficulties especially when he is publicly identified as a Christian. Besides that, he talks about the various confusing points of view he has heard from different Christians. And he's now unsure what he really is to believe in. He also longs for greater spiritual communion and intimacy with God. So he has many issues because he's very new in the faith.

I listened to him. I responded to him with some of the insights I hope I could provide. And then I said to him, "Please come to church on Sunday, erh because the sermon today might be helpful for you."

Today you may be in his same shoes. Maybe you're struggling with some confusion, lack of clarity in theological thoughts. Maybe today you're going through hardships, trials, pains and you're wondering what should you do in the midst of trials. Maybe today you long to be more used by God. You want to be more fruitful in your life. You want to serve Him in greater ways.

Well, if these are the questions you have, I hope today's sermon will be helpful for you indeed. Because in the passage before us, there's something simple that you and I can do. There's something you and I can be a part of and God can grant breakthroughs.

Well, what am I talking about? Well, as a church, we just began our series in the book of Colossians. Colossians is a letter, really, written by the apostle Paul, one of the leaders in the early church, to the people at ancient Colossae. And Paul started this letter by encouraging the Colossians. He has never met them before. They have not seen him before as far as we know. But he writes this letter to encourage them in their spiritual walk.

We learned last week Paul began with praise. He praises God for God's work in their lives. How God sent a servant, Epaphras, who carried the Good News of Jesus to the Colossians. So that when they heard of it, they realized that there is salvation and they realized that there is a glorious hope laid up for them. And because they see this hope, they believe in this hope, they're motivated by this hope, they live radical lives of faith and love.

So Paul praised God for the Colossians in that God gave them a messenger, a glorious message, a beautiful motivation and obvious manifestations of their life in Christ.

Today, Paul shifts from praising God for what God has done in their lives to prayer for the Colossians, for God, for what God will do for their lives. And in all that, he's seeking to encourage them.

So we read in verse 9, "And so, from the day we heard," and as we recognize how God has worked in your life, we heard of God's wonderful ministry amongst you, "we have not ceased to pray for you . . ." So Paul now prays or writes about his prayer for the Colossians.

Now what will Paul pray about? That's the question we would like to explore. Many people today understand that it's good to pray, that we should pray as Christians, but we also wonder what should we really pray for?

I read this week about someone's prayer. He said, "Dear God, my prayer for 2021 is for a FAT bank account and a THIN body. Please don't mix it up like last year."

I am not convinced this is the kind of prayer perhaps, we should all be praying for. But what should we be praying for? What really is in God's will? What prayer pleases God?

A Pleasing Prayer
Well, I think we have a beautiful sample of prayer that God would be delighted in. And so we've entitled this sermon very simply 'A Pleasing Prayer' - pleasing to God, a prayer that I think He would be delighted in. Colossians 1 verses 9 to 14 is about this. So let's dive right in.

1. Petition
In verse 9, Paul tells us the petition - what he asks God for. He says, "From the day we heard about how God has worked in your life, we have not ceased to pray for you. And this is what we pray for - 'asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.' "

Now that's quite a lot of things to digest; a lot of terms, a lot of technicalities there. But let's cut to the chase. The prayer is essentially about the knowledge of God's will.

So Paul prays for the Colossians that they would know really God's will. Now when we think about God's will, instinctively and maybe reflexively, we think about, "Oh, God's will for me in the future. What investment I should make, which job I should take up, who should be my wife, where should I stay, what should I serve in?" It's usually about the future, that's how we think. We think it's about some fortune telling, some clairvoyance, some predictive idea.

But when you look at the Bible, I think the major emphasis of the knowledge of His will is not so much guessing what's going to happen in the future, but it's knowing what we should do today. In other words, it's not about clairvoyance, it's about obedience. It's not asking what's next, but it's doing what's now. That's the emphasis.

So God has already given us His will, His principles, His desires, His commands, His precepts in the Scriptures, in the Bible. And Paul is praying, "I'm praying that you will know His will for you today. That you know what you should believe in and what you should obey in." That in essence is what Paul is praying for.

But, we should also note that the knowledge of His will is also to be in all spiritual wisdom and understanding. Now what is the difference, or what are the differences between knowledge, wisdom, and understanding? I don't think Paul wrote this just to demonstrate his vocabulary. So there are some unique distinctives in each word.

Now granted, these three words are pretty similar. A lot of overlap. And even in the Bible, they can be used sometimes interchangeably. But when put together, I think each word offers a unique distinctive, or perspective, or nuance that is important for consideration. So let's try.

The word 'knowledge' is to know something. I think that's what we understand in English today. But the word 'knowledge' in the Greek is the word 'epignosis'. 'Gnosis' or 'gnosticism', you may hear some of these words; it really means knowledge and epignosis means the full knowledge. It is about having a grasp of some of the facts and information. That's knowledge - you know something, you know about something, you have facts and information about something.

The word 'understanding' is the Greek word 'synesis', which is, you know 'synergy', it's bringing things together, working together - 'syn'. So synesis is the ability to bring two things together. Perhaps, it's almost like in English we say you put two and two together. You kind of get the picture. You kind of get an understanding; so the word 'understanding' is a good translation. It's knowing how this works, why this works; the meaning and the significance behind it all. So you don't just know about the facts, you know why this is so.

And then the word 'wisdom' in the Greek is the word 'sophia'. And the idea here is about intelligence and skill, and the ability to manage to put things together, to live life skilfully.

So, I think if you look at these three words and their distinctives, perhaps knowledge speaks a lot about the information we are supposed to have. Understanding speaks about the significance of the information we should have. And then wisdom is about the application of what you know. So, if I may put it even more simply for you: knowledge is about the what, or understanding is about the why, and wisdom is about the how.

So God's will is not just for us to memorize the Bible and to know the meaning of each word. That's important. You need the information, you need the facts, you need the Scripture. But beyond that, we need to understand why God gives these instructions, or gives these teachings. What's the significance behind it all? What's the meaning? And then we need to understand how we can apply God's Word in our lives.

In every area of our lives, God's will is that you may have such knowledge and understanding and wisdom so that you know what to do. As a husband, as a wife, as a child, as an office worker, as someone who possesses possessions, how should you deal with possessions and finances in life?

Maybe it affects even, and not maybe, it should affect even how you vote this coming Saturday, the presidential elections. How should you think? Orh Friday, sorry. Wrong information. Please don't go vote on Saturday. You will be struck off the register, alright? Yes, it's on Friday. So how should you vote? What are the principles you think about and how should you apply them in your life?

How you should deal with relationships and conflicts in relationship? How you should deal with trials? How should you face death? Everything in life requires knowledge, understanding and wisdom.

And Paul says, "I'm praying this for you so that you'll be filled with this knowledge, wisdom and understanding. So that you are influenced and controlled and directed by God's will and not man's will or the will of people around you."

And this is something that you cannot do by yourself. Yes, you need to read the Bible. Yes, you need to study the Scriptures. But it is not mere intelligence that grants you these things because I need to ask, I need to pray. It is God alone who can grant to us knowledge, wisdom and understanding.

So the apostle Paul petitions to God for this singular thing, this one request for the Colossians that they will be so influenced and directed and controlled by 'the knowledge of God's will in wisdom and understanding'.

Can I ask you, what do you pray for yourself about? And what do you pray for your family about? And what would you pray for your church about? What would you pray for your fellow brothers and sisters in your care group and discipleship group? Would it be something along these lines? Paul prayed for the Colossians in this way.

2. Purpose
But this knowledge, this wisdom, this understanding I hope you'll see is not mere academic pursuit. It's not just to make yourself look smart or look clever because he tells us the purpose. The reason, the purpose of myself praying for you in such a way is so that you may 'walk in a manner worthy of the Lord' [v10]. This is not just for information; this is for transformation. That your knowledge, your wisdom, your understanding will result in changed lives, in a certain behaviour that is worthy of God.

Or if I may put it the other way, the only way you and I can walk worthy of God, the only way we can behave correctly that honours God is when we have the right knowledge, understanding and wisdom.

When I was studying in Medicine years ago, we.. we learned about public health and how the public health system needs to understand a simple model called the 'KAP model'. I'm not sure if it's still taught in Medicine today. My model may be outdated already but we learned about 'KAP model'. What is 'KAP'? Not King Albert Park. But Knowledge, Attitude and Practice.

People's practice will not change unless they have the right knowledge and the right attitude. For example, your husband likes to eat 'char kway teow' [stir fried flat rice noodles] and you don't like him eating 'char kway teow'. You want him to change his practice. The only way you can get him to change his practice is if he has new knowledge or the right knowledge and the right attitude.

Maybe he doesn't know 'char kway teow' has a lot of cholesterol. Maybe he doesn't know that that cholesterol can choke up his blood vessels and he may have a heart attack or a stroke. So you need to change or to give him the right knowledge and to shape his attitude in order for him to have a new practice.

And it is the same for the Christian. The only way we can live rightly before God is when we think rightly, when we believe rightly, when we see things rightly.

So, it makes sense that Paul prays that they will have knowledge and wisdom and understanding. That they will know the what and the how and the why. Then they can walk in a manner worthy of the Lord.

You see, we are not robots. God did not create you and I to be robots, to download instructions, press a button and we just act mechanically.

It's amazing! You and I, we are thinkers. We perceive things, we process things. And the only way you can act right consistently, willingly is when you understand, you know, you're wise and you get the ins and outs that way.

Yesterday we were having a block visitation of some of the flats here at Punggol. And after that visitation, we sat down at a coffee shop just to catch up, chit-chat and we began talking about AI - Artificial Intelligence. Someone was telling me that in a Lutheran Church in Germany, the preaching is done by AI figure. Someone wrote the sermon but he inputs that sermon into the machine or the computer and the AI person preaches the sermon.

I thought to myself, it wouldn't be long before you don't even need to write the sermon for the AI machine to preach. You just need to give the AI machine the text - Colossians 1:9 to 14 and give the topic maybe you want and then the computer will be the pastor for you, the preacher for you. And you can actually engineer the pastor you want. How he looks, how he sounds, the style he preaches. want him to be friendlier or more aggressive? Up to you, you can ask the AI to do it for you.

I thought about, "Wow, maybe someday the pastor will be out of job like many occupations or many people in many jobs would face." But I thought about it also. Whilst the AI machines are really quite something - they learn well when you programme the logic in it; they.. they have probably a greater grasp of facts, they have a greater grasp of maybe the technicalities, the.. the.. the skills that are needed but there's something AI can never learn, I think.

And that is, the AI can never be programmed to love God nor to love you. It's a machine! It cannot really grasp the ultimate why. You cannot programme a machine to love you. I cannot programme a machine to love God.

God did not send into this world supercomputers to do His work. He sent men and women. He changed their hearts, so that men and women would know His love when He sent His Son Jesus to die for our sins, and that men and women would then love God and obey God.

God's will is not for machines to respond to His commands. He's looking for men and women with flesh and blood, with beating hearts, who would know His will, understand His love, and then out of love obey Him joyfully and gratefully. So this is God's plan, that we may know Him, know His will, understand what it takes, how we should live and do it because we love Him.

What does it mean then to walk in a way, in a manner worthy of the Lord? The apostle Paul clarifies it by saying this means that it's a life that is 'fully pleasing to Him' [v10]. What we say, what we do, how we behave, how we treat people - it should all be fully pleasing to Him.

You see when a man comes to know Jesus as his Lord and Saviour, he does not only come to church for church service, there is a total reorientation of his life. He used to live only to please himself. He is his own god, but now because he knows God's love and because he has tasted God's love, he loves God and the centre of his life is God. He lives not to please self but to please his God, his Heavenly Father.

And so I say to you, perhaps today you say, "Yah I need to pray like Paul did." One very important principle is: why do you pray what you pray? Is your prayer for yourself or is your prayer for the glory of your God, for the pleasure of your God?

The apostle Paul therefore in this passage gives us his petition. He asks that God will grant to the Colossians knowledge, wisdom, understanding. The purpose is so that they may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him. But then we are still left with this question: what, what do you mean by fully pleasing to Him? What does that look like?

3. Picture
So he provides for us a picture, a portrait of what it means to walk in a way pleasing to the Lord. And I think there are at least three things we should learn from this picture.

Number one: it should be that we are 'bearing fruit in every good work' [v10]. It means we are very productive, hukh, it means we are very active. It means we are not laid-back, lazy, passive but we are always looking to do good, to serve people, to love people, to help people and to point them to Jesus.

We.. we want to glorify God by bearing fruit in every good work. We hope to speak a word of comfort to those who need. We need to speak a word of witness to those who need, who want to hear the Gospel. We want to be a people full of good works. We want to be like the Gardens by the Bay, flourishing, blossoming, beautiful for men and women to see.

Now I want to clarify, we are not saved by good works. But we are saved unto good works. Let me say that again, we are not saved by good works. We are saved by God's grace. We are saved by God's gift of His Son Jesus. Jesus did all the good. He lived a perfect life and then He laid out His life on the cross to pay for our sins which we cannot pay. So we are not saved by our works; we are saved by Jesus.

But those who are saved by God would abound unto good works because you love God and you want to honour Him. You want to glorify Him.

So, when we are walking in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, let me say this, you'll be someone who is abounding in good works. You'll be fruitful, you'll be a blessing to be with. You'll be a blessing to many people around you.

A second thing Paul talks about is that you'll be 'increasing in the knowledge of God' [v10]. Now to be precise, earlier on Paul speaks about increasing in the knowledge of His will, right? Now he says, "As you increase in the knowledge of His will, you'll also increase in the knowledge of God."

So this is not so much about facts and information. This is about relationship. This is about intimacy with God. You'll be increasing in the knowledge of God in knowing Him. It's about communion. It's about fellowship.

And in between would be that key point of walking in a manner worthy of the Lord. Obedience is critical to fellowshipping with God. Or if I put it another way, sin is a tremendous hindrance to knowing Him and enjoying Him.

I was speaking to someone this week also, who came from a different church. And he says, "In my previous church, the worship service - very 'happening' [Singlish, colloquial for lively]. I feel so 'shiok' [Singlish, feel good] every time. I feel I connect with God every time. And when I come to GLCC, like a bit... not so 'shiok'. I don't feel so connected." And I understand what he is saying. And he's asking, "What's the disconnect? Why?"

I can't answer everything as to why, I did not tell him exactly why. They may be different reasons and I'm not saying that what I'm going to say next is the real reason. But as I was thinking about his question, it brought me to this one text, or one possible answer. I'm not, again, let me say, I'm not saying that this is his issue. I'm just saying this reminds me, out of the multitude of reasons, this is one thing that caught my attention.

And it is a passage in 1 John. I.. I didn't put up the verses here, so I didn't know whether I have enough time to talk about it but I think I have some time, so, I'll say a little.

1 John. The book of 1 John, what is it about? What is it for? Well it's, the purpose of the letter is given right in the beginning, in the first four verses of 1 John. There, John writes that we have seen and heard and touched Jesus. So John, together with some others, have had that personal encounter and relationship with Jesus Christ.

Now, none of you have touched Jesus. John had. John had great privilege of knowing Jesus in an up-close-and-personal way. But John says, "This Jesus, who we have seen and heard and touched, we now proclaim unto you. So that you can have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with God and the Father and.. and the Son.. and the Son, Jesus." The word fellowship means we share together, we have in, something in common together.

So John is saying, "I'm writing to you so that you may know God, you may know the Son, in such intimacy like we did. We touched Jesus. But even though you did not touch Him, you can have fellowship with Him. And we write these things so that our joy may be full."

So the book of 1 John, in essence, is saying this is how you can have intimacy or fellowship or communion with God. That's what this book is about. And the rest of the book, John, in a very unique writing style, I think unique to us but probably not unique in his time, writes in a rather circular fashion, repeating the same themes, but essentially saying - walk in obedience. Walk in the light as God is light. Walk in love as God is love. And as you obey, as you honour Him, as you follow His commandments, as you walk in His path, you have fellowship and intimacy and communion with God.

I think it's the same thing here. What does it mean to be walking in a way worthy of the Lord? It means that you obey Him, and as you obey Him, you would grow in the intimacy and knowledge of God.

Put it another way, D.A. Carson, in the explanation of this text, he says, "One of the reasons the Bible seems so dead and cold to you sometimes, one of the reasons," not everything, but one of the reasons, "why you don't seem to be getting anywhere is because you are sleeping with your girlfriend or your boyfriend or because you're cheating in exams or you're not disciplining yourself in the matters of prayer or because you're nurturing bitterness."

He's saying that there is no joy in your life. There's no life! There's no connection! There's no change because you're living in sin. Sin disrupts communion with God. Obedience fosters and nurtures it.

So when you are walking in a manner worthy of the Lord, what does that mean, Paul? Paul says, number one: there will be fruitfulness in your life. You'll be bearing fruit in every good work. You're not 'chobo' [Hokkien, colloquial for do nothing], you're active, you're fruitful.

Number two: you will experience fellowship with God, increasing in the knowledge of God, in intimacy with Him.

And number three: there will be a certain fortitude or resilience in your life. As he says, "Being strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to the Father . . ." [v11-12a]. He says you'll be strengthened with all power according to His glorious might.

This is a very big statement, because God is all-powerful. And He's saying that God out of His amazing might and glorious power will strengthen you. I pray that He will strengthen you.

And what is this empowerment for? A lot of times people think that when God empowers someone, it's so that he can do great miracles or preach great messages. Now God can certainly do that but the emphasis here is that the power is to give them the strength to endure and to be patient.

In other words, this strength is given to them when they are going through trials and pains and hardships. When that person is living in a hospital, when you're lying on bed, stricken with a terrible disease that you're told may never be healed. When you're going through a very painful breakup in your family and saying to yourself, my life will never be the same again. When you're facing calamities and trials, what we need is God's empowerment.

The word 'endurance' probably speaks about how we are to endure in circumstances, difficult predicaments. Patience probably refers to how we endure under difficult people. But I think the point is clear, that we are able to remain under and stay faithful even in the midst of pain.

People often ask, "What do we pray for when we go to the hospital to visit someone? What, how can I pray for this brother or sister in Christ?" I say please pray for healing. Nothing wrong with praying for healing. We do not know if God will heal or not but we should and we can pray for healing. But besides that, we should pray for endurance, for patience, for joy, and that will be expressed in how this person give thanks to the Father.

One of the values we extol here at Gospel Light, taking reference to the early church in the book of Acts, is joyful in suffering. People don't like to talk about suffering. Most people come to church because they don't want suffering, right? They come to church, they say, "I want to know this God because if I know this God, this God can take away my suffering, take away my sickness, take away my pain, take away my problems."

Well, God sometimes can do that, but I think more often than not, He allows you to have that pain. He continues to put you through under that pain. Perhaps, so as to manifest His power in and through your life.

When people see you sick and still giving thanks to God genuinely from your heart, they.. they are forced to sit up and pay attention to the fact that there's something supernatural in your life because that's not easy. That takes great power according to God's glorious might. Yes, it's painful to us, but it doesn't mean it's meaningless. In fact, God can use you for His glory and ultimately for your good, in the light of eternity.

Giving thanks to the Father - why would you give thanks to the Father? Because I'm in pain, how can I give thanks? I'm in trouble, how can I give thanks?

Well, the apostle Paul says the reason why you give thanks is because you remember where you come from and where you are today. "Giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light." [v12]

You know something? When you are saved, when you become a child of God, when you repent and believe in Jesus and when you see God's work in your life, you can have this wonderful confidence and hope that you share in the inheritance of the saints in light. All that Christ has and owns will be yours. We are heirs and co-heirs with Christ because 'He has delivered us from the domain of darkness', a picture of pain and ignorance, and then 'transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son' [v13].

We follow our King, Jesus. We are part of His people. He will care for us. He will love us. He will provide for us. "In whom we have redemption," we are set free from sin, "the forgiveness of sins." [v14]

Our sins are not accounted to us anymore. God is not angry with us anymore. God will not judge us anymore. But we now belong to Him. And because God has saved you and granted you such amazing privileges, you give thanks even though you are diagnosed with cancer and terminal illness. Because there's something far more eternal and fundamental than our life of 70, 80 years on this earth.

That's why you can give thanks. Because God's power has enabled you to believe these things, hold on to these things, endure and be patient through these things, and have that deep Gospel-derived joy. So this is the pleasing prayer God or the apostle Paul records for us in the book of Colossians.

Applicatory Thoughts
I'd like to end off with some applicatory thoughts.

1. Concern in Prayer
Number one: your concern in prayer - what do you pray for?

If, imagine, if today I have a camera in your home. And my camera is activated whenever you pray. I'm curious what I will see and hear. I want to know what you pray for. What is your concern in prayer? What is the, what is the centre of your prayer life? What's at the heart of it all, can I ask you?

Well if you ask, "Paul, what's your concern? What's your heartbeat? What's your core in your prayer life?" I think Colossians 1 would be the representation. It is all about God. It's about God's will. It's about walking worthy of God. It's about fully pleasing to Him. It's about giving thanks to the Father. It's very God-centred.

So often our prayers are flowing from a concern for self. Now I'm not saying you cannot pray for yourself. I'm not saying that at all. But I'm saying that even when you pray for yourself, your prayer for yourself should ultimately connect to the glory of God. And if your prayer cannot connect to the glory of God, don't pray that prayer.

"Oh, I really want a Ferrari. Lord, please grant me a Ferrari." Can you pray that? Well, you can pray that only if you getting a Ferrari really glorifies God. And if that Ferrari doesn't glorify God, then don't pray it.

"God, I want to be healed." Is that a right prayer or wrong prayer? It depends why you want to be healed. Does it connect to the glory of God? Does it connect to how we express our dependence on God? I think the heart of prayer is the glory of God.

Jesus, when He taught the disciples how to pray, He said, "After this manner, pray ye . . ." He's not saying that you recite these things or just mechanically say these words but I think there are principles there.

He says, "This is how you should pray: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be Your Name" [Matthew 6:9]. Let Your Name be set apart. "Your kingdom come, Your will be done" [Matthew 6:10]. Basically, He's saying, the priority of prayer is God - His Name, His kingdom, His will. I think only if you get that right, then you pray, 'Give us this day our daily bread. Forgive us our trespass. Lead us not into temptation' [Matthew 6:11-13]. So that we, our lives, can bring glory to Your Name and advance Your kingdom and do Your will.

Paul - concern in prayer is for the glory of God. I pray your prayers would pass through this filter in your lives, in your mind. I think that's the right thing to do. That's what it means, I think, to be knowing His will, in all spiritual wisdom and understanding that we will even pray correctly, biblically, in a God-centric way.

2. Content in Prayer
If it is concerned about God in our prayer life, then I think the content in prayer is a lot easier. Then perhaps, we can pray things such as this. I'm not saying these are exhaustive by any means. There are many other good things to pray for in the Bible, but hopefully in our prayer life, we will have more and more and more of such elements.

Lord, give me wisdom, understanding and knowledge. Not so that I look smart but that I may walk in a manner worthy of You, fully pleasing.

What does that mean, Lord? It means, please, grant me grace that I may be fruitful in every good work. That I may grow in intimacy with You. That I may be satisfied in Your communion. That I would have this deep endurance and patience and joy, giving thanks to Your Name, as I go through my pains and my sicknesses and my hardship. I think this simple passage can be revolutionary to your prayer life and my prayer life.

3. Commitment to Prayer
And then finally, I end off with a note about the commitment to prayer. The apostle Paul did not know the Colossians in a personal way. He has not been there, he's not the church planter, it's Epaphras. But it did not stop Paul from praying for the Colossians. I, we have not ceased to pray for you. In other words, this is what we are committed to. We pray for you regularly and we pray for you repeatedly.

I always tell people who pray with me I'm a broken recorder. I keep praying the same things over and over again. There may be some new stuff here and there but I think the core of it all - pretty much the same. But I don't apologize, I just tell you but I don't apologize for that because I think there is that instruction or that principle I see in the Bible and these are the things we should pray about and these are the things I should therefore continue to pray about.

I pray Gospel Light will be a church that is committed to prayer. Personal life, CG, in our prayer meetings - that we are clear what we are gathering to pray for. Not that my son gets PSLE 278. I mean, if you think that glorifies God, then go pray, it's fine. But in my heart I know if he gets 278, that's not for God's glory, it's for my glory or for his glory, so I don't really pray for that. But pray for God's glory. And pray for, if I may say, the spiritual focus and priorities.

I hope this will change your life. I hope that young man would hear this message. In the midst of confusion, in the midst of pain in his new workplace, in his desire to be greatly used by God and to know God in a deeper way, this one simple step solution - this prayer life could transform his life. I pray it will, perhaps for yours too.

Let's bow for a word of prayer together.

How we need God in our lives, isn't it? Prayer is not just to inform us of what we need but prayer is that crying out, that dependence on God to do what we cannot do. We sometimes don't realize what we really need. We think we need healing, only. We think we need the removal of pains and sufferings only.

But what we really need today, at least from this passage, is to know God's will, to have spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that we may walk in an obedient way, worthy of God, pleasing to Him. In that we would be fruitful, we would enjoy fellowship with Him and that we would have that fortitude that brings glory to His Name. I think this is what we need, and this is granted to God's people when we pray.

I hope this is not a message to guilt-trip anybody or to make you feel bad. But I hope this will encourage you. Just as Paul prayed for the Colossians, we today can pray for ourselves and for one another. We can pray for our church, we can pray for family, we can pray for our CG, our DG and I think that if we believe in the power of prayer, and if we pray with the right concerns, the right commitment and the right content, your life and my life will be very different. And God will be pleased.

One simple solution today. May we trust Him. May we be faithful, ceasing not to pray.

If you're here today for the first time and you're wondering, what is Christianity all about? I say, it is that God sent His beloved Son to die on the cross and to rise again so as to pay for our sins and to defeat death and hell. Jesus did for you and I what we can never do for ourselves. He sacrificed, He became a Substitute to pay for your sins.

What is God's will for you? I'm 100% sure God's will for you today is that you will repent of your sins and believe in Jesus to be saved. In fact, the Bible tells us God commands men everywhere to repent. Today you can be saved, today you can be forgiven. Not by you working your way to God, but by you humbling yourself and say, Jesus paid it all. May you today as you witness baptism, be yourself encouraged to know this God of the Bible through Jesus, His Son.

So Father, thank You for this morning that we can hear Your Word and we pray that this church will be a different church when we obey You in the place of prayer. Fill us with the knowledge of Your will, understanding and wisdom. Help us to walk worthy for Your own Namesake. Thank You. We pray all this in Jesus' Name, Amen.

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