East Side Church
(Baptist - Disciples of Christ)
201 Spruce Ave.
Sharon, PA 16146
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July 8, 2012
"A Prisoner's Prayer"
Read Colossians 1:9-12.

How would your prayer life change if you spent two years in prison? The prayers of the Apostle Paul's prison letters are unique in four ways: 1) He prays for others, not for himself; 2) His requests focus on spiritual blessings, not material or physical matters; 3) All he knew about the church at Colosse he learned from their pastor Epaphras (Colossians 1:4 & 7; and 4) In his prayer, he had three requests.

First, he prayed for Spiritual Knowledge (1:9). "I ask God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding." 1) When we are born again, we have the capacity to grow in spiritual maturity. 2) The will of God is an important part of the Christian life. God wants you to know His will and understand it. "Do not be foolish, but understand what the will of God is" (Ephesians 5:17). "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him (2 Peter 1:3). 3) God wants you to be "filled" (controlled by) with the knowledge and understanding of His will.

Some general guidelines for being controlled by the full knowledge of God's will are 1) we must know the living Word to understand the written Word and it is through the written Word that we know the living Word. The two cannot be separated. 2) The Holy Spirit who comes to live within us when we are born again teaches us as we submit to Him. "The Holy Spirit will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you" (John 14:26). "The Spirit of truth will guide you into all truth" (John 16:13). 3) As we pray and sincerely seek God's truth, He gives through the Holy Spirit the wisdom and insight that we need. "I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better" (Ephesians 1:17). 4) The general will of God for all believers is given in the Bible. The specific will of God for any given situation must always agree with what He has already revealed in His Word. We are not to seek visions or wait for voices, but "to have wisdom" not to know everything, but to have a growing relationship with God through His Word so that we have the wisdom needed for making decisions to please Him.

Second, He prayed for Practical Obedience. (1:10). In Christ, knowledge and obedience go together. True spiritual wisdom must affect your daily life. "Knowledge puffs up; love builds up: (I Corinthians 8:1). Two words sum up the practicality of the Christian life: 1) live (conduct) and 2) work (service). I cannot work for God unless I am living for Him but I cannot live for Him if I do not know His will. We must spend time daily in the Word and Prayer to know God's will and be able to live for Him and work for Him. The growth process includes 1) "Live a life worthy of the Lord," 2) "please Him in every way," 3) bear fruit in every good work" and 4) "Continue growing in the knowledge of God" (Colossians 1:10).

Third, He prayed for Moral Excellence (Character). (1:11-12). It is God's power that empowers us to have 1) great endurance, 2) patience, 3) joy and 4) thankfulness. Life is a gift from God and Life's blessings come only from His bountiful hand.

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© East Side Church, 2013