In Colossians 1:9-14, Paul shares his prayer for the Colossian church. Essentially he prays that they would mature in Christ. His prayer is an excellent model for us to pray for each other in our local churches.
Be Filled with the Knowledge of His Will (v9b)
Following Paul, we should pray that we would know more and more of God’s will. And how will we learn God’s will? In God’s Word. Paul’s prayer applied today is that we would be in the Bible. We should read it, meditate on it, study it, memorize it, learn it so that we might know God’s will. And what is his will in the Bible? It is tied up with the great salvation he offers to us, and how we should respond. And yet it is not enough to merely know his will. We need wisdom and understanding to apply God’s will to our daily lives. And Paul calls this spiritual wisdom and understanding; that is, this wisdom and understanding comes from the Spirit. The same Spirit that led men to write the Bible, leads us to understand how to apply it to our lives.
So let’s consider our prayers. Following Paul, we should pray for each other in our local churches that we would know God’s will by being in God’s Word, and that we would apply it with the help of the Spirit to our lives. Is this part of your prayer life?
Walk in a Manner Worthy of the Lord (v10)
This second request flows from the first. As we know his will and apply it through the Spirit, we will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord. We will, as the verse goes on to say, live fully pleasing to him. What would this look like? Paul continues with two things:
First, we will bear fruit in every good work. We will do what is good and right. As we learn God’s will, we will obey it. We will turn from sin, and be abundant in the good works he has prepared for us to do (Ephesians 2:10). Indeed I Peter 2:24 reminds us that Jesus died so we might die to sin and live for righteousness. We live worthy of the Lord who died for us when we live out the salvation he purchased for us by doing what is good.
Second, we will increase in the knowledge of God. Not the knowledge about God, but of God. We will grow to know God more. We will grow in our relationship with him. In Colossians 1:21-22, we are reminded that Jesus died to reconcile us to God, to give us a relationship with him. We live worthy of the Lord who died for us when we live out the salvation he purchased for us by growing in this relationship.
So let’s consider our prayers. Following Paul, we should pray for each other in our local churches that we would grow in doing good and in our relationship with God. Is this part of your prayer life?
Be Strengthened in His Power (v11)
On our own we can do nothing, so we need God’s power. We need his glorious might. Paul prays we would be strengthened by God’s power that created and sustains and reigns over this world. Paul prays that we might share in the might that raised Jesus from the dead, and that will defeat the devil forever. He prays that we might have this power so that we might have endurance and patience with joy. We need endurance in difficult situations. We need patience with difficult people. And we need God’s strength to endure and be patient, especially if we are to endure and be patient with joy.
So let’s consider our prayers. Following Paul, we should pray for each other that we would be strengthened with God’s power to joyfully endure trials and be patient with people. Is this part of your prayer life?
Give Thanks for God’s Great Salvation (v12-14)
As we know God’s will about salvation (from Paul’s first request), we should give thanks. Paul shares three aspects of this great salvation here.
First, the Father qualifies us to share in a great inheritance. We do not deserve it, but in Christ we can share in this great inheritance that includes our resurrection and a new world with God forever. This is worth giving thanks for.
Second, the Father delivered us from the domain of darkness. We are reminded here that the devil and his demons are real, but we have been delivered from their power. This is worth giving thanks for.
Third, the Father transferred us into Christ’s kingdom. Now we belong to Christ. In him we have been purchased out of bondage to sin so that we might do what is good. In him all of our sins are paid for, washed away, and forgiven. This is worth giving thanks for.
So let’s consider our prayers. Following Paul, we should pray for each other to grasp more and more God’s great salvation that we might give thanks to God for all he has done for us. Is this part of your prayer life?
What if we prayed Paul’s prayer continually for each other in our churches? In verse 9, Paul told the Colossians he did not cease to pray this prayer for them. What if we followed Paul’s example? How might we be changed? How might our churches be changed? Let’s not just ask the questions. Let’s pray for each other to mature in Christ and see what God might do through it!