Thursday, February 2, 2012

Little Reminders

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio 

Colossians 1:9-11

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;  
10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, 
fully pleasing Him, 
being fruitful in every good work 
and increasing in the knowledge of God;  
11 strengthened with all might, according 
to His glorious power, for all patience 
and longsuffering with joy;

Do you ever get stuck on how to pray for someone? Or do you ever wonder how to know what to pray and if what you are praying is God's will?  I can tell you that I have learned to pray by echoing the prayers of Jesus and the Apostles. I figure if it was good enough for those guys - its probably a good starting place for me. Today's verse is one of those prayer prayed by the Apostles. 

So lets boil it down a bit... 
It starts out saying that they don't ever stop praying - it is an on going thing. There are people who I think about off and on through my day as I do I lift them before the Lord in prayer. Sometimes there are things that I have set up as reminders to pray for particular people.  I purposely set up odd little reminders using sometime commonly found things for people I want to pray for more often or difficult unusual to find things that when they come up I am reminded of God's faithfulness . Today I drove past one of those scrolling signs and it read... "Lighthouse salad dressing." I had to laugh because  I collect visual lighthouses. They are not something one really expects to see as far inland as I live. Certianly not like finding pennys on the ground as a reminder to Trust God. Some days I find a lot of pennies. Some days I need a lot of reminders.  These may seem silly kinds of things.  There is a old hymn called Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing. That in one verse says "
Here I raise mine Ebenezer; hither by thy help I'm come; 
 and I hope, by thy good pleasure, safely to arrive at home. 
I always laugh when its sung because I know the meaning is lost on most folks. In 1 Samuel 7 there is yet another story of the Israelites who are once again in the midst of what should be a hopeless battle. In this one it says "But that day the LORD thundered with loud thunder against the Philistines and threw them into such a panic that they were routed before the Israelites."
Yea God - well afterward the story goes on to tell that Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer, saying, ‘Thus far the Lord has helped us’ ” (1 Samuel 7:12).  Now before you think Ebenezer Scrooge and go off on some weird tangent, let me tell you that an Ebenezer was a stone of remembrance. Anytime the Israelites saw that stone they remembered that battle and how God had saved them with thundering.  So I have my odd Ebenezer collection.

So back on topic - some of the things I might pray based on todays verse.

• That you be filled with the knowledge of God's will
• Spiritual Understanding
• Wisdom
• That you might walk in a way that is worthy of the Lord
• That you would please the Lord
• That you would be fruitful
• That your knowledge of God would increase
• That you would endure hardship with patience and endurance

You just are not going to go wrong praying for those kind of things for people that you care about. The Bible is full of prayers that were prayed by various people in various times and situations. The Psalms are full of prayers. People always comment on the eloquence of my prayers. I can tell you that I never plan them - I open my mouth and it is what comes out. Now before you chalk it all up to just a gift of God. I think there is more to it then that. I have spent a lot of time in my bible reading and praying along with the prayers that I find. So in a sense I have been saturated with the eloquence of the Apostles, David, and Jesus that when I am called upon to pray that stuff that is already in me begins to be drawn upon and it mixes in with the flow of the Holy Spirit and comes out. I am quick to remind people that God is not really looking for eloquence, he is more interested in heartfelt openness and honesty. I have spent years feeding my own Spirit on passages like our verse today and so I am able to pray. I leave you with 1 John 5: 14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.

When I pray the things in the list above for people I know those things are Gods will.  This verse promises that he hears what is according to his will.  So I guess my tip for the day is - you want more prayers heard and answered start praying things that you know are Gods word that you have found others praying in the bible. Its a great place to start


Dear Lord,
I pray that you would open your word and lead these reads to passages that they would begin to be able to echo to you as prayers in their own words for similar things. Let them be filled with spiritual wisdom and understanding. May our prayers rise before you like a pleasing aroma or incense. Lord help us to set up little memorials and Ebenezers to remind us of your love and promises to us and to pray for particular people that you have put upon our heart. I thank you that you do hear our prayers. I thank you that you are working, often in ways we can not yet see. So Lord today let us choose to put our faith, hope and trust in you.

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