Have you ever wondered how you can pray for the people you love? In this amazing prayer, Paul continues to remind the Colossians that he himself is praying for them with heartfelt consistency (1:3; 1:9). But he doesn’t just tell them he is praying for them; he explains what he is asking God to do for them:
- To be filled with all the knowledge of God’s will (1:9-10).
- To be strengthened with all the power of God’s might (1:11-14).
Filled with the Knowledge of God’s Will: Paul asks God to give the Colossians insight into the knowledge of his will “in all spiritual wisdom and understanding” but he then goes further to explain why he desires the Colossians to obtain this knowledge when he says, “so as to.” Those three words trigger for us that what Paul said previously was a means to be a means of what he is about to introduce, which is, “to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord…” That’s the desire of Paul for the ones he loves! Paul’s desire for these believers was to be filled with all the knowledge of God’s will in order that they would walk worthy of their Savior. Pray that for your Christian loved ones, it’s the best thing for them.
This model of how to pray for others teaches us is that knowledge of God’s will in the mind is designed to lead to living out God’s will in our lives. One of the great themes of Jesus’ sermon on the mount and the book of James is to be doers of God’s will and not hearers only. Paul is doing the same thing here in this prayer. He says, “so as to walk…” (1:10), referring to your everyday life, and his desire is that knowledge would lead to practice.
Strengthened with all the Power of God’s Might: Paul’s second desire is for the Colossians to be strengthened by the power of God so that they would experience the joy of God in the midst of circumstances that require endurance and patience. It’s difficult to go through a grueling marathon with joy. How could someone have joy in the midst of the pain of the last few miles? One word, “inheritance.” After the workout, you know that you will inherit the growth you desired physically, or the reward you were looking forward to. Since you know that the reward is coming in the future, you are able to bear the pain in the present with joy rather than anger.
In the same way, in the midst of your troubling circumstances, if you remember that the inheritance of God’s kingdom is really coming and that Christians will be rewarded for obedience on that day, endurance with patience and joy is possible. We learn two amazing truths of Jesus’ experience in his walk to the cross. First, that it was because of the joy set before him that he endured the cross (Heb. 12:2). This joy was saving his people, and he knew that was the Father’s will. Jesus was filled the knowledge of God’s will and this enabled him to experience joy in the midst of pain because he looked forward to the result of God’s will through his obedience: His inheritance, which is you. Secondly, he loved us truly in his heart and was not bitter towards us while he was being brutally tortured for our sins (Rom. 5:8; John 13:1). But how did he do this? He was strengthened with the power of God’s might by the angel in the garden as he prayed, “And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him” (Luke 22:43). Jesus was given endurance, patience, and joy in the midst of the worst circumstance anyone could face through knowing the Word and the power of prayer and he has given us His Spirit to do the same in lesser circumstances through the means of knowing the Word of God and praying to the God of the Word.