Paul’s Prayer For The Colossians

Scripture

So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. 10 Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better. 11 We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, 12 always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light. 13 For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, 14 who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.

INTRODUCTION

How would you like to get a personal letter from the greatest missionary in the world? Last year we participated with the Graham’s in MY HOPE AMERICA  and I got several letters from Franklin but they were all form letters. We even got a Christmas Card from the Graham family but it was a form not personal. I get a personal letter from one of the world’s greatest evangelist every now and then and I keep them in a file. Paul the great Missionary wrote the Colossians these words…”I am thankful for you. Every time I pray, I give thanks for you.” Isn’t that great; when did you last write a note or a card and tell a friend, “I am thankful for you and every time I pray, I think of you.” Wow, what an encouragement that would be to get a letter from a friend with those words.

What did Paul pray in particular?

I. THAT THE COLOSSIANS BE FILLED WITH KNOWLEDGE OF GOD’S WILL [v.9]

[Note: he did not pray for them to be filled with knowledge but knowledge of God’s will. Knowledge alone puffs up, it causes us to become proud]

In verse 9, Paul uses three words that are akin to each other but yet all have distinct meanings.

  1. Knowledge–the Acquisition or apprehension of truth. The truth we seek is locked up in His will. The object of prayer is to know the will of God. In prayer we are not attempting to change the will of God but to apprehend it so we can pray it and do it. We don’t pray “My kingdom come, My will be done on earth and in heaven.” Our prayer is that His Kingdom come and His will be done and that our will be lost in His.
  2. Wisdom–not just any kind of wisdom but spiritual wisdom. This is the appreciation of truth and light. We need Wisdom to process our Knowledge.
  3. Understanding–The application of truth. Knowledge allows us to apprehend truth, Wisdom enables us to assimilate truth but understanding allows us to put it into practice, to make it work for us in everyday life.

The best illustration I can think of is a fire arm. I know an assault rifle when I see one, so that is knowledge. I know that an assault should not be used to kill humans unless it was to protect your family or community from invasion. So I have wisdom and knowledge of an assault rifle but what I don’t have is understanding. I don’t know where the safety is located, how to load or unload, how to clean or discharge the weapon. What good would an assault rifle be to me since I do not understand how to use it? You are not going to do the will of God until you understand what His will is for your life.

II. PAUL PRAYED THAT THE COLOSSIANS WOULD WALK IN A MANNER WORTHY OF THE LORD [v.10]

  1. Paul prayed that the Colossians might live to please Him in all aspects…We pray to know the will of God so we can do the will of God: knowledge without application leads to pride. We already know more than we are doing.
  2. Paul prayed that the Colossians might bear fruit in every good work [John 15:8]
  3. Paul prayed that the Colossians might  grow in their knowledge of Christ [Philippians 3:10]

III. PAUL PRAYED THAT THE COLOSSIANS MIGHT BE STRENGTHENED WITH ALL POWER ACCORDING TO HIS GLORIOUS MIGHT. [v.11]

  1. “Strengthened” is the present participle denoting continuous action. We don’t get one giant impetus that catapults us through our Christians experience, we get new mercy and grace daily.
  2. The word ‘might’ or ‘power’ in NLT is the Greek word ‘kratos’ and it is used only in reference to God. So we are talking about God’s mighty power that emanates from His glory.  His glorious might is absorbed into the life of believers like plants absorb the sun light.
  3. His might produces Steadfastness, patience and joy.
  4. Steadfastness in a compound word which means to ‘bear up under’. It speaks of the ability to stay under a burden or load. Jesus stayed under the cross. He could have pushed it aside but He was steadfast. Barclay takes the two words translated patience in AV and associated endurance or steadfastness [hupo-mone, to bear up under] as dealing with circumstances and makro-thumia [slow to get hot] with patience with people.
  5. When you learn to steadfastly bear up under any burden of unpleasant circumstances and then you develop the patience to work with people, even those who are hard to get along with, then you will have joy [chara].

IV. PAUL PRAYED THAT THE COLOSSIANS MIGHT BE THANKFUL

  1. Thankful for the inheritance of the saints.
  2. Thankful to be rescued from the domain of darkness.
  3. Thankful to be transferred to Kingdom of light.
  4. Thankful for redemption.
  5. Thankful for forgiveness.

 

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