Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Prayer For The New Year

Colossians 1:9-11 

I saw an article that listed the five most popular resolutions made practically every year. The 5th was to take up a new hobby, the 4th was to make more money, the 3rd most popular resolution was to improve relationships, the 2nd was to stop smoking and the most popular New Year's resolution was, you guessed it, losing weight.

A woman walked into her bathroom at home. As she did, she saw her husband weighing himself on the bathroom scales, sucking in his stomach. The woman thought to herself, "He thinks that he will weigh less by sucking in his stomach." So, the woman rather sarcastically said to her husband, "That’s not going to help." Her husband said, "Sure it will. It’s the only way I can see the numbers."

Often this time of year, after the overindulgence of the holidays we make resolutions to change our habits and our way of life. A new year gives us an opportunity to start fresh and better ourselves. Unfortunately by the middle of January we’ve somehow forgotten our resolutions and have returned to our old ways.

I heard about a man who moved into a retirement community to spend the rest of his life there. It wasn’t long until he had made a number of friends among the other residents. There was one lady he was especially attracted to, & she was attracted to him, also. So they spent a lot of time together. Finally one evening he proposed, asking her to marry him.
The next morning he woke up remembering his proposal, but he couldn’t remember her answer. So he went to her & said, "I’m really embarrassed. I proposed to you last night but I can’t remember if you said `Yes’ or `No."’ "Oh, thank goodness!" she replied. "I remembered saying `Yes’ but I couldn’t remember who asked me."

*********

Psalms 37:4 - Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

There are some amazing prayers in the Bible. Colossians 1:9-11 is one of them. This was Paul’s prayer for the church at Colosse. We would do well to incorporate this prayer into our life in 2012. Let's take a look at it more closely.

Paul’s prayer for the church at Colosse was a prayer for:

I. Perception – 1:9

For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; (Colossians 1:9 NKJV)

Paul prayed for the church that they would be able to understand or perceive the:

A. Will of God“that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will”

How are you going to do God’s will if you don’t understand what it is that God would have you do? The phrase “filled with the knowledge” means to have full-knowledge.

Paul did not want the church to guess at God’s will for their lives. Paul's asking that the church there be filled with God's knowledge means that is can be known! You can know what God wants you to do. You do not have to meander through life hoping your life is counting for something. You can know it is.

Ask God to fill you with the knowledge of His will this year. Tell Him that you are willing to go wherever He wants you to go this year. Surrender your time, talents and treasures to Him today. Don’t hold anything back this year. Your life belongs to God. Give it back and watch Him use you in His will.

One thing is for certain. If you are going to do the will of God this year you’re going to have to know what it is. God will show you His will for your life if you let Him.

Paul prayed for the church that they would be able to understand or perceive the will of God and also that they might be able to perceive the:

B. Word of God“in all wisdom and spiritual understanding”

It’s impossible to fully explain how important the Bible is in and to your life. It doesn’t matter how old you are – the Bible is your instruction manual, security blanket, code book, invitation to the grand ball, etc.

You may just be learning how to read. Read your Bible. It’s the instruction book for all of life. You’ll be a better student if you learn the principles found in the Bible and practice them throughout grade school.

You might be in your teen years ands all of your friends have turned their backs on God and the church. They think the Bible is a book of fairy tales and old stories that are unimportant. Read your Bible. It will get you through the years when you want to wander away from God, home, the church, and everything that is decent and moral.

You might be in you twenties when the teen-age years have gone and now you’re trying to figure out what to do with your life. It might not be popular among your friends to stand for God. Read your Bible. It will give you wisdom above your years and lead you into a life of significance.

You might be in your thirties or forties and raising children, teen-agers or young adults. You are going to need the encouragement and inspiration the Bible provides. Your children are still watching you. They may not come to you with their problems, but they are watching to see how you handle the pressures of life. Your Bible will help you be a true source of wisdom to them beyond their adolescent years.

You might be in your fifties and beyond. Read your Bible. All of the other generations need the guidance of godly Christian grandparents. Leave a legacy of godliness. Pass on your passion for the Bible.

Paul prayed for the church that they would be able to understand or perceive the will of God and the Word of God. Secondly, he prayed for:

II. Prosperity – 1:10

 That you may have a walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; (Colossians 1:10 NKJV)

Here again, Paul’s prayer for their prosperity was in two areas. First, he prayed that they might be prosperous (fruitful) in their:

A. WalkThat you may have a walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him,
The word “worthy” (axios) there means, “bringing into balance, equivalent”. Does your life balance with the Lord’s? Is your life the equivalent of His?

Paul prayed that the believers at Colosse would be prosperous in their walk with the Lord. My prayer for each of us this year is that we would be prosperous in our walk with Him. Remember Jesus’ story of the Talents. Read Mt. 25:14-30.

I’m not praying for you to make a million or to stockpile things that will rust and decay. I’m praying for you to prosper in your spiritual life. I’m praying that you will be the best example of what a believer in Christ should be. If we will do that, we will be prosperous.
Mt. 6:19-21.

Paul prayed that they might be prosperous in their walk. Secondly, he prayed that they might be prosperous in their:

B. Work“being fruitful in every good work”

That’s a good prayer, isn’t it? As we serve God this year, I pray that the work we do for Jesus Christ will produce more fruit than it ever has.

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. 1 Corinthians 15:58 NKJV

Paul prayed that the church would be able to perceive the will of God and the Word of God. He prayed that they would be prosperous in their walk and work. Lastly, he prayed for God’s:

III. Power – 1:11

Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; Colossians 1:11 NKJV

The Colossians needed the power of God in and on their lives and ministry. So do we. Like the Colossians, we need God’s power to:

A. Endure – for all patience and longsuffering”


B. Enjoy – with joy”

What a prayer! “Lord, help us to understand Your will and Your Word. Help us to prosper in our walk and work. And give them us power to endure the difficulties and still enjoy the journey.”

(I first preached this sermon beginning the year 2003. Wow, I'm amazed at how applicable God's Word is for us EVERY year!)