A few weeks ago I began a series looking at how we can pray for one another. In the first part I focused on the blessing we have in our brothers and sisters in Christ and that we ought to constantly thank the Lord for them.
In this post, we will move to consider a request on behalf of our church family. Frequently, we see Paul praying that other Christians would be filled or grow in wisdom in knowledge. Here is one example:
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; that ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;Colossians 1:9-10
Many of us live with wealth and comfort that many in history could not have even imagined. One blessing so prevalent is the provision of glasses or contacts to help us see. Glasses correct an incorrect view of the world.
If we have the wrong worldview we will find ourselves struggling in this world with depression, confusion, moral depravity and so on. The big picture of Paul’s prayer here, for wisdom and knowledge, is like putting on glasses that give us the correct worldview.
We need to see the world as it really is, as God has made it, and then the big picture, as well as the details in our lives, will make sense.
1. The Cause (1:9a)
In verses 1-9, Paul shares what he has heard of the Colossian believers from Epaphras. Based upon the existing work of God in their lives he prays for continued growth and fruit in their lives.
2. The Consistency (1:9b)
“…do not cease…” Paul modeled for us a consistency in prayer to which we should aspire. Whenever he could, Paul would speak to the Lord of the needs of others. It appears that his prayers rose to His heavenly Father as naturally as taking a breath.
3. The Request (1:9c)
Paul prayed that they would be filled with the knowledge of God’s will. Filled here means to cram something full to overflowing. The passive tense of the language reveals that believers simply receive this filling. God is the active agent.
N.T. Wright describes it this way,
The knowledge of God’s will is more than simply an insight into how God wants his people to behave; it is an understanding of God’s whole saving purpose in Christ, and hence (as in verse 10) a knowledge of HimselfN.T.Wright
This is big-picture stuff, it gives us a worldview that then filters into the everyday details of our lives.
The knowledge of God’s will, then, is knowledge of God. It is knowing God Himself.
To be filled with God is to give Him full control of our lives (Ephesians 5:18).
This filling of the knowledge of God’s will is in wisdom and understanding.
The word for wisdom is sophia, it refers to general principles. Understanding here is sunesis, and can be understood as the application of the principles of wisdom (sophia).
Paul wanted the believers at Colosse, indeed all believers, to grow in both. Growing in Christ, in the knowledge of God’s will in all wisdom and understanding is to grow in spiritual maturity, morals, intellect, and discernment.
4 .The Result (1:10)
Paul anticipated that as believers grow in the knowledge of God’s will they would walk worthy of the Lord, in a way that pleased the Lord, that produced good works, and constantly grow in the knowledge of God.
As we understand God it will fuel growth in holiness in our lives, it realigns our lives with God.
Further, we will receive strength according to God’s glorious, magnificent power! This perfect strength enables patience and longsuffering with joyfulness in our lives.
We have been promised Divine resources to hold the course! May we take advantage of the blessings promised to us.