I Need Your Prayers
I was on my computer yesterday when a message popped up from a friend. He said he had been praying for me. I have been seeking the Lord about going back into full time ministry and he was wondering how the search was going.
It's daunting to start over at any age, but after 55 it can be overwhelming. Statistically the prime age range for hiring a Pastor is 35 to 50. Once you get over that magic number the prospects drop dramatically. So when my friend said he was praying for me it meant a lot. I know God is sovereign and has changed the world through people who have "passed their prime".
That's why it is important to know how to pray for someone. Being specific about the content of prayer is important, but what I ask for is a prayer that will last forever. Look what Paul prayed for the Colossians,
"that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father" Colossians 1:9-12.
1. He prayed that they would be filled with the knowledge of God's will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding. This can be taken two ways. First, that understanding the will of God needs spiritual wisdom and understanding, or second the will of God is about spiritual wisdom and understanding. Or rather spiritual things. Maybe that is straining gnats, because it is probably both. Either way God's will is the key, and understanding His plan is essential and it leads to what is important, and that is the way we live.
2. So that, we walk, live, behave in a manner worthy of the Lord. Understanding God's will is essentially knowing how to live in a right relationship with Him, with fellow believers, and the world around us. If we do that we will fully please Him. Too many Christians, and this one included, seek God's will so that we will be pleased, happy, and fulfilled. Except, living according to God's will is about being inwardly changed and outwardly focused.
3. So that we bear fruit in two things, our good works and our knowledge of God. Notice the order? Good works is first. I believe that we get to know God best when we are bearing fruit in good works. When we serve the least we are serving Jesus. We find out more about God through the humility of meeting others' needs than we do from seeking or meeting our own.
4. So that we may be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might. Now that is what I'm talking about! Who doesn't want that kind of power to excel, to achieve great things, to stand victorious before an unbelieving world? But that isn't what the power is for, it is for patient endurance. When you learn to know God by reaching outward you are going to face difficulties you have never imagined. You will want to quit, it's too hard, people are mean, the world isn't fair, and it is easy to become cynical. I know, I have been there. It takes the power of God to have the kind of patience that endures the messiness of people and the pain of ministry. It takes the power of God to maintain joy and be thankful in order to carry on.
When I think of going back into the ministry I want to believe that I have achieved the knowledge of God's will in wisdom and have seen it bear fruit. Most days are better than others. So as you pray for me, that God will bring the right ministry at the right time, first and foremost pray that I can discern his will, serve without expectation, and be strengthened to patiently endure with a grateful and joyous heart. I'm just saying.