Colossians 1:9-11 “For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.”
We all find ourselves in situations where we really do not know what the Father intends to do in people’s lives, whether they need healing, protection, discipline or just comfort. How can you pray for others without getting in the way of what God wants to do in and through them? Thankfully when we do not know the details of a person’s circumstances the Lord does know it all. Paul gives us an excellent example of how to intercede in a way that is general in its appearance but it is really profound in its application. Each request is in line with the father’s will as revealed in His Word; it fits every single need we can have in this life; and it is centered on the Great problem Solver. There is nothing selfish about any of it, every word magnifies His glorious name.
In Colossians 1:9 Paul asked that the Colossians would be “filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.” The first request is foundational to all our petitions because God desires every person to understand His unique plan for them and see their circumstances form His point of view. We can also ask that God give people spiritual wisdom and understanding because they must know how to apply the Father’s will to their lives – existing for His purposes and not their own. He has specific things for each of us to accomplish. Ephesians 2:10 says “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for Good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Each one of us is formed with a unique set of abilities, and talents, and personality traits to serve Him (Psalm 139:13-16). As we embrace the Father’s objectives and goals then life becomes meaningful and fulfilling. Asking the Lord to reveal His will is the perfect way to begin our petitions. When we pray for God’s plans to be carried out in a person’s life, we know we are requesting the best for him or her.
Paul was addressing the church at Colossae, Christians that had faith in Jesus as their Savior. So it was good and right for Paul to pray that they would “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord.” As believers, we are God’s representatives. 2 Cor. 5:20 says “We are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us, we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” It is not enough that we just walk His path for us, we must walk it in a way that brings honor to His name and helps others to know Him. Our lives testify about the Lord we serve, so we must be obedient to Him and conduct ourselves in a manner consistent with His character. In Paul’s time, that meant abiding in the Christian walk and not going back to the pagan practices. To those we pray for, it signifies being “devoted to one another in brotherly love; giving preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing In hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, (and practicing hospitality” (Rom. 12:10-13).
Paul’s third request was that the Colossians would bear “fruit in every good work” (Col.1:10). As believers, we serve the Eternal God and our lives can and should have an everlasting impact. We have the privilege of investing the time, the talents, and the skills the Lord has given us for the sake of His kingdom, knowing that whatever we accomplish in obedience to Him will endure forever.
Fourth, Paul prayed that the Colossians would continue “increasing in the knowledge of God” (Col.1:10). A person can comprehend a great deal about God and not really know Him. Our understanding of who He is shapes how we interact what Him, what we communicate to Him, and whether we expect Him to answer us. It is important that those we intercede for continue to seek Him and learn his ways. We ask the Father to reveal Himself to them through Scripture, that He would illuminate their times of prayer and Bible study with the recognition of God’s trustworthy character. The habits, the behaviors, and the practices that help us interact with the Lord are just as important to those that we are praying for. The best place anyone can start seeking God is through His Word. We pray that the Lord will shed light on Scripture for them in powerful ways. We ask the Lord to help them obey Him, regardless of what He directs them to do. And finally we praise Him, understanding that whatever He commands will ultimately help them grow closer to Him and increase their knowledge of His ways.