Bill has supplied the notes this week and our passage today is Colossians 1:9-14.
Here is one of Paul’s amazing prayers. He prayed regularly for Christians he hadn’t met, which is remarkable in itself, but it also means that his requests are relevant for every Christian, even today. I have divided the prayer into three, what Paul prays for, how it will be achieved, and why he prays for it.
- What does Paul pray for? That the Colossians should know God’s will v9. That is the central prayer, and the rest is built around it. They need to know his will for their lives, but also the big picture of his will for all ages and for Christ’s return in glory.
- How will it be achieved? The knowledge of God’s will is learnt “through spiritual wisdom and understanding.” The Colossians did not have the whole New Testament. But Paul was going to see to it that at least they had the book of Colossians to read.
For us this wisdom and understanding will come from reading the Scriptures and from receiving Christian instruction from godly people. We should pray and meditate on what we read and hear, asking God to teach us. The more we do that the more we will gain spiritual wisdom and learn of God’s will for us, for the world and for the age to come.
- Why does Paul pray for them to know God’s will? Firstly because they will be more likely to honour and please the Lord in the way they live their lives v10. Secondly because their good deeds will be more fruitful v10. Thirdly because this knowledge of God will actually grow v10. It’s a dynamic process, a little knowledge of God leads on to more – “growing in the knowledge of God.” Fourthly, they are more likely to experience power from God for stickability, which requires patience with the difficulties they will face and the irritations all around v11. As I write I am conscious of letting the Lord down in this area yesterday.
Finally Paul comes back to where he began in verse 3, giving thanks v12. We can never exhaust our gratitude to God for our hope of glory, for our transfer from darkness to light and for the forgiveness of sins which Christ achieved for us on the cross.
Reflection – let’s pray to be filled with the knowledge of God’s will.