Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Praying For One Another

I love the rain. Sometimes. Not when I have to be out in it, dashing from house to car to office, soaking my feet in puddles and risking my painstakingly wrought “hair do” on the way. But I love it on days like today, when I have the time to simply sit and listen to the gentle rhythm of drops hitting the ground, watching it slowly drench the wood on my deck as I gaze out through the patio door from the comfy station of my reclining chair. The sound of it brings a calm to my mind and spirit.

For some reason, I feel the fact that it is raining somehow gives me permission to take the time to sit and stare and think. Moments like these are rare in this crazy-busy world. Moments like these are a wonderful time to read the Bible. Not racing through it, with my mind on the next thing on my to-do list. But dwelling on it, drinking it in, just as the ground drinks in the soft summer rain. God’s word is so rich. He has given us much to be encouraged by, much to learn from, much to grow by.

This morning I pulled out my NASB/Amplified Parallel Bible. Reading from the first chapter of Colossians, I sank into the preciousness of Paul’s opening words in his letter to the believers at Colossae. The Amplified version stretches his heartfelt words into an even more encouraging prayer.

So often I find myself, in my prayers for others, reverting to the standard “bless them Lord” type of offering. But in these verses I find some much richer, and oh so much more edifying, requests. So I wanted to put them down here. I pray them for you, whoever you are, if you are a brother or sister in the Lord, and you read this entry. (Can we pray in advance like that??? And could you pray them for me please?)

"PAUL, AN apostle (special messenger) of Christ Jesus (the Messiah), by the will of God, and Timothy [our] brother,
To the saints (the consecrated people of God) and believing and faithful brethren in Christ who are at Colossae: Grace (spiritual favor and blessing) to you and [heart] peace from God our Father.
We continually give thanks to God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah), as we are praying for you,
For we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus (the leaning of your entire human personality on Him in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness] and of the love which you [have and show] for all the saints (God's consecrated ones),
Because of the hope [of experiencing what is] laid up (reserved and waiting) for you in heaven. Of this [hope] you heard in the past in the message of the truth of the Gospel,
Which has come to you. Indeed, in the whole world [that Gospel] is bearing fruit and still is growing [by its own inherent power], even as it has done among yourselves ever since the day you first heard and came to know and understand the grace of God in truth. [You came to know the grace or undeserved favor of God in reality, deeply and clearly and thoroughly, becoming accurately and intimately acquainted with it.]
You so learned it from Epaphras, our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ in our stead and as our representative and yours.
Also he has informed us of your love in the [Holy] Spirit.
For this reason we also, from the day we heard of it, have not ceased to pray and make [special] request for you, [asking] that you may be filled with the full (deep and clear) knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom [in comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of God] and in understanding and discernment of spiritual things--
That you may walk (live and conduct yourselves) in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him and desiring to please Him in all things, bearing fruit in every good work and steadily growing and increasing in and by the knowledge of God [with fuller, deeper, and clearer insight, acquaintance, and recognition].
[We pray] that you may be invigorated and strengthened with all power according to the might of His glory, [to exercise] every kind of endurance and patience (perseverance and forbearance) with joy,
Giving thanks to the Father, Who has qualified and made us fit to share the portion which is the inheritance of the saints (God's holy people) in the Light."

(Colossians 1:1-12, Amplified Bible)


William said...

I would like to suggest to you, M., that a common thread in your posts is a yearning to "sink in" to the Lord - especially that you could bring yourself to spend the time that you would like to spend with him; with his word, etc.. In your post, "In it's season", you seem to find the direction God is pointing you in, in Psalm 1:1-3.

I would like to again suggest to you (as I did in a comment on that post) that God can be trusted to provide for all our needs if we place being-with-him first, above all other priorities.

I have several practical suggestions for you:

1.) Don't watch television. Even an hour a day spent in front of the television is 365 hours a year, or the equivalent of 15 days, you could have spent with Him.

2. Even the almighty God, in the person of Jesus, was deliberate about separating himself from all distractions - he frequently went off to solitary places to pray.

Is there a safe place where you can be alone for whole blocks of hours two or three times a week? I take four hour walks and find that God typically visits me in the last hour, that place and time where I have finally been cleansed of all the distractions of this world.

3. Be honest about materialism. How hard are you working to acquire things you don't really need? If, like Mary and Joseph, you were commanded tonight to pick and go to a distant land, would all the stuff you have now really matter all that much? It is vital for Christians to understand why it is that righteous Seth was a shepherd (as were many in his line down to Jesus) and Cain was a builder of cities. One life choice was simple, pastoral; the other was busy, confused and congested. Seth and his progeny understood that any time spent in busy-ness was time taken away from God. For them, that was not a fair trade. Mary and Joseph were chosen to be Jesus parents in part because their lives were simple. They were not movers and shakers, nor the types to be bustling around town all the time on spending binges. The world, and our own sinful nature, work hard to let busy-ness creep in and overwhelm, like an incidious vine.

Now you know why I don't have the money for software to create a website. If God wants a website to happen, he will have to provide the means. I'm not going to go out and "get busy" in distractions from the Lord to afford software. Why cut off my nose to spite my face?

4.) Get the word in your life ANYWAY YOU CAN. I downloaded the entire Bible onto my Ipod Classic. (It only takes up a small fraction of the available space). The Ipod allows tremendous flexibility to how I listen. I can stop, go back, pause, etc. I listen to the Bible all they time, everywhere, even waiting in the checkout line at grocery store, thanks to the Ipod.

Hope these help.

Melanie said...

Thanks William for your suggestions. They are all very good, and things that I struggle with (esp. finding that "alone" time.) Television can be a distraction, even without cable. In fact, anything can be a distraction from that necessary, focused time to be with God.

I do have an MP3 player, and am still not "fluent" in how to use it. But I still use my walkman and discman to listen to sermons etc.

Thanks for your encouragement. I'm sure everyone who reads it will benefit.

William said...

I am not a salesman for Apple, Inc., I have simply discovered that the more impediments we remove to reading or listening to Scripture, the more likely we are to endulge. The Ipod makes listening to Scripture so very easy.

Kat said...

Hey Melanie,

It's me Kat. :) You sound like a kindred spirit! I love rain and prayers for others too, that soaking in thought.

I love this prayer too and often pray it for others. I actually plan to cross stich a portion of it it as a reminder to be steadfast in prayer. :) Have a blessed day!