READING: Isaiah 34-36, Colossians 2
“For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you.”
I write this devotion as both a confession and a commitment. I love the guys I’m privileged to mentor, and I love praying for them. At times, I’ve recognized a need to increase my prayers, perhaps because I’ve learned something or even because I just “sense” that I need to pray more. I’m reminded then of a good friend who has joined with his wife for many years to pray and fast for his children every Friday; once a week, they seek God and engage the enemy on behalf of their children. I hear him tell the story, and you can just tell the depth of emotion they experience as they take their children to the throne of God.
I’m sure their commitment still pales to Paul’s commitment to pray for the Colossians, a group of believers being wrongly influenced by a false teaching in their church: “For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God's mystery, which is Christ” (Col. 2:1-2). Scholars differ about what that struggle was, but it’s likely it was the struggle of prayer from one who loved them but could not be with them. Paul’s struggle was literally an “agony” to him, a constant striving of one who warred in prayer against the enemy on behalf of his people. He desperately wanted them to walk faithfully with “full assurance,” and he was willing to do the hard work of intercession on their behalf.
My confession is that I probably don’t pray enough for the young men in whom I get to invest my life. Being decades older than they are, I don’t always think of the battles they face every day. I forget what it was like to be in my 20’s, trying to be a godly young man when the arrows of the enemy and the lures of the world flew about me. I do remember my own days of facing the war alone, though, often failing and never seeking someone with whom to share my struggles. Now, I have the opportunity of walking with others on my knees. They may not know the prayer time I spend on their behalf, but I trust they will experience more victory simply because somebody is striving in intercession for them.
So, my confession is that I don’t agonize enough for them. My commitment? To crank up my praying on their behalf.
- Think about the persons you might strive for in prayer. Renew your commitment to do so.
- Plan some prayer and fasting days on behalf of others.
PRAYER: “God, hear my commitment to You and to others today.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Isaiah 37-38, Colossians 3