9 And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. 11 May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Three Things to Pray
As Kelli and I drove in the car this morning on too short a night’s sleep, I read this passage and the commentary on it out loud to her. She exclaimed that it is one of her most favourite passages in the Bible. I must admit I was in no mood for sarcasm. I didn’t even get why what she said was funny. Then she insisted that she was serious. There is a lot in there, she told me. She even said that in the upcoming Family Retreat at Lake Geneva Youth Camp, I should teach through just this passage and not the whole book as I had planned.
Paul prays the essentials for the Christians of Colossians. For them, he wants knowledge, patience, and thanksgiving.
Knowledge. The role of knowledge is understated in 21st century American Christianity. In fact I was Skyping with Australia this morning and I was struck that it is the same in Australia and the United Kingdom. We want a faith that is free from hard work. We insist that the faith is a relationship with God, but we want to keep it shallow. If you go deep with anyone you know more about them. God has revealed sixty-six books of the Bible with varying levels of complexity. Many young Christians get bored with the shallow, and lifeless way we moralise and flatten the character of scripture. We are to spend a lifetime plunging into the depths of God’s self revelation. There is no end of our quest for knowledge.
Patience. In the commentary I read the following paragraph from Nouwen was written:
The word patience means the willingness to stay where we are and live the situation out to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us. Impatient people are always expecting the real thing to happen somewhere else and therefore want to go elsewhere. The moment is empty. But patient people dare to stay where they are.
Thanksgiving. Gratitude is commanded as a discipline for the Christian. Nouwen is once more quoted in my commentary:
Gratitude in its deepest sense means to live life as a gift to be received gratefully. But gratitude as the gospel speaks about it embraces all of life: the good and the bad, the joyful and the painful, the holy and not so holy.
Father, like Paul, may I pray continuously and specifically for others. May I desire for them knowledge, patience and thanksgiving. Like the Colossians, may I live out a life of knowledge, patience, and thanksgiving. May my gratitude stem from a deep understanding of you and also of my place in the world. I am loved and accepted and I am equipped and useful. Thank you.
- How is Paul’s discipline of prayer described?
- How is the knowledge for which Paul prays described?
- Why should the Colossians give thanks to the Father?
- How do you pray for your church and other Christians?
- How are you doing in the areas of knowledge, patience, and gratitude?