Colossians 1:1-14

Father, make me more like Jesus.

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Father, in the way that Paul prayed for the Colossians, I pray for me:

FILL ME WITH THE KNOWLEDGE OF YOUR WILL (v 9 NIV)

“Through all spiritual wisdom and understanding” guide me into a daily walk with You in which Your will governs my thoughts and actions and words.

HELP ME TO LIVE A LIFE WORTHY OF YOU, OF BEING CALLED YOUR CHILD; HELP ME TO PLEASE YOU IN EVERY WAY. (v 10 NIV)

Any worthiness I have comes only from You.  I am a sinner, bankrupt without You and Your grace.  You alone, by the sacrifice of Jesus, have made me worthy.  Only by Your power in me and Your grace toward me, can I please You.

CAUSE ME TO BE FOUND “BEARING FRUIT IN EVERY GOOD WORK” (v 10 NIV)

No matter what condition my heart and life are in, Lord, in some way, keep me “bearing fruit,” i.e. making disciples, leading or pointing others to You somehow.

KEEP ME “GROWING IN THE KNOWLEDGE OF YOU” (v 10 NIV)

Let me never stop hungering to know You more.  The more I spend time with You, the better I’ll know You.  The better I know You, the greater I’ll trust You.  The greater I trust You, the more victorious I am in this life, whether good times or tough ones.

STRENGTHEN ME “WITH ALL POWER ACCORDING TO YOUR GLORIOUS MIGHT” (v 11 NIV)

Because You are in me, Your strength is in me as well.  You bring all of who You are into all of who I am in order to shape me into all You desire me to be.

SO THAT I “MAY HAVE GREAT ENDURANCE AND PATIENCE” (v 11 NIV)

It’s Your strength in me that makes it even remotely possible to keep on through the hard days and to wait on You, Lord.  Only by waiting on You–Your timing, Your ways–will I enjoy Your best for me.

“AND JOYFULLY GIVING THANKS TO YOU, FATHER” (v 11-12 NIV)

May gratitude well up within my heart–for even the smallest things about You or from You.  May it spring from within me and burst out of my mouth at every opportunity possible, whether alone with You or with others as witnesses.

YOU HAVE QUALIFIED ME “TO SHARE IN THE INHERITANCE OF THE SAINTS IN THE KINGDOM OF LIGHT” (v 12 NIV)

You’ve set me free from the sin that once bound me and kept me from fellowship with You.  You’ve made me part of Your kingdom, a full citizen with all the rights, privileges and responsibilities of one who serves the King of Kings.

YOU HAVE RESCUED ME FROM THE DOMINION OF DARKNESS AND BROUGHT ME INTO THE KINGDOM OF THE SON YOU LOVE, IN WHOM I HAVE REDEMPTION, THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS. (v 13-14 NIV)

Thank You, Father, for saving me, for rescuing me from sin … for Your forgiveness, mercy, and grace.  Let’s do today–as I walk with You, and You live in me … Cause my life to reflect the work You’re doing in me to make me just like Jesus.  Amen.

Romans 15

Eyes speak so easily, Lord.  Let the eyes You’ve created for me master the words, “Jesus loves you.”

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“…God wants the combination of His steady, constant calling and warm, personal counsel in scripture to come to characterize us, keeping us alert for whatever He will do next.  May our dependably steady and warmly personal God develop maturity in you so that you get along with each other as well as Jesus gets along with us all” (v 4-5 MSG).

“For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.  May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus” (v 4-5 NIV).

ENDURANCE – God’s “steady, constant calling” (Peterson, The Message)*

ENCOURAGEMENT – God’s “warm, personal counsel” (Peterson)

HOPE  – “alert for whatever He will do next” (Peterson)

The purpose of Your Word unfolds here: to teach me, to instill Your character in me.  Intrinsic to You are endurance and encouragement–these are part of Your character.  From the riches of who You are, You reach out to me with gifts of the same.  You are “dependably steady,” enduring through everything. In Your Word, You are steadily, constantly calling me to follow you always.  You are “warmly personal,” full of encouragement, as You set forth “warm, personal counsel” in Your Word, that’s applicable to EVERYthing I have or will ever face, as You keep me “alert for whatever You’ll do next.”

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (v 13 NIV)

“God of hope” –that’s YOU, Papa!  Not that You’re the Subject of hope, but You’re the AUTHOR of it.  “Hope…finds its expression in endurance under trial,” (Vines, p. 563).**  “It is ‘an anchor of the soul’ (Hebrews 6:18-19), staying in place amidst the storms of this life. It is a purifying power (1 John 3:3).

Write on the pages of my heart, the narrative of Your hope as it infiltrates my being.  When the trials come, may You pen how hope spurs me onward, enduring the trying circumstances.  When the storms rage, Your prose can convey how Your hope anchors my life and assists me in riding out the storm.  With “confident expectation” (Vines, p. 562)** set on You, I watch You unfold each chapter of my life and desire for You to purify my heart and mind, just like Jesus’ (1 John 3:3) … until You pen THE END of this life, and begin the sequel set in eternity.  Amen.

*The Message, contemporary paraphrase of the New Testament by Eugene Peterson

**An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words by  W.E. Vine