“For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;” Colossians 1:9
Dr. Curtis Vaughan was a professor, friend and mentor. As a professor, I recall him saying on the first day of class, as we began the study of Colossians, “I have been studying and teaching this little book for over 40 years, and every time I read it, I learn something new.” I was 26 years old and found that hard to believe. After all, look at it. This is one short book. Thanks, Doc. You were right.
As a mentor, Dr. Vaughan’s door was always open to me. He walked me through many questions about the ministry. As I approached graduation, I confessed to him, “I feel like I don’t know it all.” He said, “That is a good place to start. Never be afraid to say, ‘I don’t know.’” That was a huge comfort, and a great piece of advice.
As a friend, he came to our wedding, prayed for us, and presented Dana and I with a very special gift. It was his most recent book. I am using it this morning as I study Colossians. It is entitled, THE NEW TESTAMENT from 26 Translations.” He inscribed it,
“Dear Dana and Gary, You have both meant a great deal to me during my interim ministry at Sagamore. I wish for you the very best of God’s blessings as you begin your life together.” – Curtis Vaughan, 1 Peter 5:7
“Casting all your cares upon Him, for he careth for you.”
Paul prayed regularly and relentlessly for those who loved Jesus, and also loved him. There is a bond that exists between the members of the Body of Christ. The Spirit of The Living Christ is the seal that holds the bond of His body together. Paul felt that bond of love and prayed for those who shared it with him.
Prayer is in the DNA of every members of God’s family. Paul was drawn to pray without ceasing. The reason for Paul’s intense and immense drive to pray for others was the love that others had for Jesus and the love of Jesus they shared with him. His unceasing prayer was love fed, and Spirit led.
Note to self: Why pray? You pray be-CAUSE. Love is The Cause of prayer. You pray because The Father first loved you. You pray because The Son loves you still. You pray because the fruit of The Spirit is love. You pray because The Family of God loves you.
Prayer is initiated by the love of God. It is driven by the love of Christ for people exactly the way they are. God’s love is so great that it refuses to leave people the way they are. Love changes selfish people into selfless people. Prayer transforms prideful people into prayerful people.
Prayer is expressed and sustained by The Spirit’s love. It is not man-made. Love is God-given. Prayer is an expression of the love for one another. When people are prayerless, they are loveless. Prayer points people towards a fresh love for God, an unselfish love for others and a healthy love for themselves.
Prayer is best defined by breaking down the words used to describe it in the language of Paul’s day. Prayer reveals a turnaround of a sense of direction, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Prayer is pictured as the turning of a person towards another’s point of view or the drawing closer of one person to another physically. Prayer carries the ideas of mobility, intensity and proximity.
Prayer is the expression of a strong wish or a deep desire for a need to be met by someone who is a position of power, authority and influence to make it happen. It is not positive thinking, possibility thinking or wishful thinking. Nor is it a stroll through Fantasy Land.
For a Christian, prayer is the intense passion of the heart of man to be in right standing with the mind of God. Prayer is all about an obedient child approaching, bending and yielding to the way and the will of The Father.
Prayer seeks the face of God. It longs to be near to God, turning towards Him, not away from Him. Prayer looks towards, moves nearer, and comes alongside of God to receive His direction, protection, and correction.
Prayerless people are prideful people who turn their back on God’s sense of direction and in stiff-necked pride, resist the yoke of Christ and go their own way. Prayerful people are not perfect people. They are God directed, protected and corrected people.
Ceaseless prayer for others is simply, unending selfless prayer. This kind of prayer is sustained by a love rooted in the fruit of The Spirit, not the imagination of man. This love expects nothing in return, seeks no payback, holds no grievance, and covers all sin.
Prayer doesn’t evaporate when a prayer warrior is sinned against or offended. On the contrary, in the face of this kind of treatment, this kind of prayer accelerates. It should come as no surprise. Jesus prayed, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34