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. (Colossians 1:9-14)
The last time we looked at Paul’s greeting to the Colossians, where he thanks God for their faith, love and hope. As he continues he prays for knowledge and power.
Paul asks that the Colossian saints be filled with the knowledge of God’s will . . . wisdom and understanding. But this knowledge is not so that they win arguments, or because knowledge in itself is beneficial. Rather, the reason for his prayer is because knowing God’s will is necessary to living His will, living as His children, pleasing Him and bearing fruit in good works. And because the Lord and Master of all creation and Author of our salvation is the most worthwhile subject of study, learning more about His inexhaustible greatness is itself pleasing to Him.
He also prays that they be strengthened with all power, power according to God’s glorious might, which is power in significant measure. But again, the purpose for the power is not so that we might use it for our own ends, to attain our own desires. Paul wants the Colossian church to be strong so that they might exhibit endurance and patience. They must live out their faith in a fallen world. Spiritual warfare is still a reality until we all arrive in glory. Endurance and patience are for those who know this life and its trials are not all there is and there is a great inheritance that awaits us.
The best part of Paul’s prayer, though, is not what He asks for, or the reasons he gives for asking, but the basis of His request. That he can ask at all for knowledge and power is because of the accomplished work of Christ, in Whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. The Father has qualified not just the Colossians, but us to share in the inheritance of the saints. And he has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved son. With these tremendous blessings already accomplished on behalf of the Colossian church and us, we can be sure, too, that prayers for knowledge and power will be answered. Praise Him!
A Biblical Reflection by Tom Hoffman