And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:9-14 ESV)
Paul’s prayer for the Colossians here in Colossians 1 is one we should continue to pray for other believers and for ourselves.
Our obedience to pray for one another matters, as does the content of our prayers. It is good to pray for the day to day physical and material needs of our believing brothers and sisters, but these prayers should not be the entirety of our prayers.
Our prayers on behalf of others and for ourselves must go deeper than the physical, financial and emotional needs that we have.
We see this form of prayer here in Colossians 1. Paul shares that he constantly prays for the believers at Colossae to be attuned to God’s will. He prays that they would come to know Him intimately, heeding to the wisdom that He alone can provide for their lives. He prays in this matter, knowing that the knowledge of God’s will and the spiritual wisdom to awaken to His good purpose for their lives is crucial to their walk of faith.
How can they (and we) walk in obedience to God, submitting to His perfect will, lest we know what the will of God is?
In turn, how can we know the will of God for us unless we learn God’s Word and spend time in diligent prayer, seeking to understand the Word that we study?
As believers in Jesus Christ, we should continue to increase in our knowledge of God. This isn’t a selective growth in areas of comfort (i.e. reading specific verses over and over because we like the promise they offer without learning the context (Jeremiah 29:11 anyone?) or avoiding entire sections of the Bible because we don’t like what they talk about or find them to be primitive).
Growing into a deeper knowledge of God means tackling the easy to digest and the very hard stuff too. It means spending time in the reading of God’s Word and spending time praying His Word, seeking to learn from it and grow in deeper understanding. It also means opening our minds to correction where we were once ignorant of what Scripture taught on a subject, or repenting for where we once ignored Scripture because of our life choices or preferences.
Proverbs 24:12 offers a word of wisdom on this:
“Don’t excuse yourself by saying, “Look, we didn’t know.” For God understands all hearts, and he sees you. He who guards your soul knows you knew. He will repay all people as their actions deserve.” (Proverbs 24:12 NLT).
In other words, ignorance isn’t bliss and rebellion is dangerous. We should pray that God grants us understanding of His Will and once we know better, our continued prayer is that we would live according to the truths of Scripture that we have learned.
In addition to spiritual maturity and growth, this portion of Colossians 1 addresses yet another thing we can anticipate to happen as we study God’s Word: we will grow in holiness and godly character. We will become more patient, more joyous and more thankful to our Heavenly Father for the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.
As the old hymn so truthfully proclaims, When we “turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”
Clearly he who knows how to pray prays with fewer and more meaningful words, with a focus on God and spiritual maturity.
How is your prayer life? What are your study habits? Reading Scripture we learn that these two are actually more connected than we would otherwise believe. How can you grow in both prayer and study?
Dear Heavenly Father,
I pray that You will fill us with understanding of Your Word. I pray that You will strengthen us to grow as we study this book.
Please help us to accept the hard things we will learn. Please help us to be receptive and allow them to transform us. We want to grow in spiritual wisdom and we need Your help.
We thank You for setting us apart and equipping us with understanding, as children of light.
In Jesus’ Name,
THIS POST IS PART OF A SERIES ON COLOSSIANS. READ THE OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES HERE.