Monday, September 7, 2009

Paul's unceasing prayer for the Colossians

Have you ever wondered WHAT we are to pray when we pray without ceasing? Here's one jewel I found in the middle of a sleepless night. It is Col. 1:9. Personalized it reads, "Lord, I ask that I may be filled with the knowledge of Your will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding." The first part of the verse clarifies that Paul was asking this continually for the Colossians.

This verse struck me particularly because prior to that I had just read 2 Chron. 7, 12 - 22, where God appeared to Solomon in the night after the dedication of the temple and said to him, in effect, "If you keep My statues and ordinances, I will bless you, but if you turn away and serve other gods, I will uproot you from the land and destroy the temple." In the Old Testament, God's will was very clear - keep His statues and ordinances, and you will live. Break His law, and there is punishment.

In the New Testament, however, there seems to be a shift. To be sure, the moral law and the Ten Commandments never change, but as for knowing the rest of the will of God, matters are not so clear-cut for the Christian. We are living in a personal relationship with our Lord and Savior now, and it is in the context of that close relationship that God wants to fill us with the knowledge of His will. What He wills for me He doesn't necessarily will for you, and vice versa. Furthermore, He wants to give us "all spiritual wisdom and understanding." In the OT God simply told His people what to do, but not why. In the NT He wants to give us insight into what He is doing because we are His friends, His kids, and not mere servants. Jesus alluded to the same idea in John 15:15, when He elevated the status of the disciples from servants to friends.

To the luke-warm, carnal or immature Christian the will of God can be a mysterious, baffling matter. Sometimes - often? - it seems He is hiding the revelation of His will to us or makes it hard to find it. That turns the prayer of Colossians 1:9 into such a gem. Since it's scriptural, we know God will answer, and since Paul prayed it again and again for the Colossians, we can pray it over and over for ourselves and for others.

If the idea of being filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding isn't thrilling enough to your heart, consider the results of being filled in this way:
  1. You will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord (the world will notice a difference!)
  2. You will please Your Father in all respects (He'll be tickled pink with you!)
  3. You will bear fruit in every good work (without trying hard!)
  4. You will increase in the knowledge of God (more intimacy - that alone is worth the effort of praying this prayer!)
  5. Your will be strengthened with all power so that you will become steadfast and patient (don't we all need it?)
  6. You will joyously give thanks to the Father (instead of grumbling and complaining).
So I've started to pray this prayer daily, even at odd moments. Sometimes just verse 9, sometimes adding a phrase from the list of benefits, such as: 'Father, fill me with the knowledge of Your will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding so that I may bear fruit in every good work.' I then fully expect that He will show me which good works to pursue and which ones to let go.

If you'd like me to pray this prayer with and for you on a regular basis for a while, let me know. I'm interested in seeing how it makes a difference in your life.

1 comment:

  1. Count me in. I would appreciate being prayed for in this way. I have such a desire to 'get out there' and serve Him, but my health often gets in the way.
    I have been able to serve Him from home in a number of ways. And ministering to Him in thanksgiving, praise and worship is the ultimate.
    Last night the Lord told me how much He enjoys being with me. Wow.
    I would like to add verses 10-12 to this, they sort of explain what happens when we do verse 9.
    Oh, that we would be filled with the knowledge of His will !
    I am going to try to remember to pray that for myself and for you.
    Carol Adams (BASIC member and FB friend and writer of Flying High blog) Just so you know who I am.