A Life-Changing Prayer

By Charles Stanley


Can you pray for a friend without knowing the details of his need? A friend may simply ask you, "Just pray for me." Other times, the Holy Spirit may burden you with a desire to pray for someone. How can we ask God for something when we don't know what it is?

The disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to talk with God. (Luke 11:1) We have the incredible opportunity to converse with the Creator of this universe, so naturally we want to know how. The awesome truth is that we can have a positive and powerful impact on the life of someone else, even when we lack all the information we think we need.

My friends, we can bless the life of anyone through prayer. God will hear us and answer us, and we will have an impact on that life that will, in turn, impact countless other lives.

Key Passage: Colossians 1:9-14

Supporting Scripture:
Luke 11:1
Ephesians 4:1
John 15:7-8

Scriptural Principles:

1. What is the life-changing prayer? Most of us know the magnificent Lord's Prayer, the one that Jesus taught His disciples. The Scriptures offer us another amazing prayer that we can offer on behalf of others. While writing to the Colossian church, Paul revealed his prayer for that fellowship of believers. We can accommodate this model prayer for our own uses, interceding for everyone we know while being confident that God will answer it every time. This prayer is found in Colossians 1:9-14. Paul prayed for his friends' wisdom, for their daily walk, for the bearing of fruit, and for their strengthening.

2. What makes this prayer so powerful? This prayer is powerful because, first, each part is in perfect line with the will of God as revealed in His Word. We already know this will be answered positively. Second, this is a prayer that can be prayed for anyone on earth. There is no one who isn't in need of the blessings that are listed here. Third, this is a prayer that fits every single need we can have in life. Fourth, Paul's prayer for the Colossians is an encouraging one. Simply hearing that someone is praying it for us, we feel new strength. Finally, this is a God-centered prayer. There is nothing selfish about any part of it, but every word magnifies the Lord.

3. We pray for the knowledge of God's will. In Colossians 1:9, Paul prays that his friends "may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding." This is his first request; what does it mean? Paul is asking that the Colossians would clearly know God's will for their lives. Oftentimes we see that our children or loved ones are experiencing difficult times, and we can use this prayer to help them clearly see God's desire for their lives. Again, we need not wonder if we should make this request. At all times, He longs for every one of His children to have the wisdom and understanding of His will.What a joy to be able to make this request for others!

4. We pray for a walk that is worthy of the Lord. Paul's second request is that his readers "will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects" (v. 10). This is the whole idea of living in a manner worthy of our Lord.We are extensions of the life of Jesus, exhibitions of His character and demonstrations of His power. Our actions, our words, our attitudes and our relationships reflect the God we serve, so that we must walk in a manner worthy of the life to which He has called us. Considering all that He has done for us, how could we do otherwise?

5. We pray for the bearing of fruit in every good work. Also in verse ten, we find the next request: that Paul's friends might always be "bearing fruit in every good work." This is not a question of merely being busy, but productive in the things that matter to God. In John 15:7-8, Jesus tells us that He desires us to bear much fruit as proof of being His disciples. That means that as each week goes by, we should be asking ourselves, "What have I done this week that has eternal significance? How have I borne fruit for God's kingdom?" We should also be praying for God to help others bear fruit. Particularly as parents, we should pray each day that our children would be involved in "every good work."

6. We pray for an increase in the knowledge of God. Can you honestly say that you have a hunger to know God? If you have that desire for yourself, you will also pray for the same result in the lives of those you care about. Most people are hungry to learn trivia about sports or entertainment, but what about matters of eternity? We should yearn to have greater knowledge of God by reading and applying the Word, and then by observing the results. Our wisest action each day is to feed the spirit before feeding the body, because no source but God can satisfy our deepest desire.

7. We pray for strengthening with God's power. Paul prays that the Colossians would be "strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience" (v. 11). The prayer means simply this: that the power of God would work in someone's life. Perhaps a couple is going through a divorce, or someone has just lost a job. When someone we know is living through difficult times, we pray that our friend would feel God's power released in the midst of their struggles. Sometimes the Lord is simply waiting for one person to make that prayer. We all want to have others pray for us in that way, so we should do the same for them.

8. We pray joyfully in giving thanks. Finally, Paul asks God to fill his friends with joyful gratitude, "joyously giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints" (vv. 11-12). We ask God to show our friends all the good things He has done for them. We want our friends to have joyful, thankful hearts. Our motivation for giving thanks is fourfold, as we read in verses 12-14. First, we have been qualified to share in God's inheritance. Second, we have been rescued from darkness. Third, we have been transferred to the kingdom of His Son. Fourth, we have been forgiven. We are the sons and daughters of God -- how can we help but have joyful, grateful hearts?


It should be very clear that the prayer in Colossians 1:9-14 is one of life-changing power. Wouldn't you like to know that someone is offering it to God, with your name on it, every single day? Parents, can you think of a more awesome gift to your children than to make this prayer over them each morning before they leave for school?

Think of someone whose life you would like to see blessed. Mark this prayer in your Bible, commit it to your heart, and begin to bring the name of your friend before God every day. Then you enjoy watching God work, because this prayer is always His will.

Finally, what about your own life? Give this prayer to a godly friend, and ask that person to pray for you. It will mark the beginning of countless blessings for every day of your life.