Summary: Today, as we finish our series on the prayers of the bible, we'll look at some of Paul's prayers. We'll look at the specifics of what Paul prayed for his fellow Christians; realizing that we should be focused on these things too.
THE PRAYERS OF PAUL
We've looked at many prayers over these past couple months-the Our Father, the prayer of Jabez, Elijah's prayers, Hannah's prayer, Daniel's prayer, Nehemiah's prayers, and last week we looked at Jesus' prayer. Today, as we finish our series on the prayers of the bible, we'll look at some of Paul's prayers. I covered some of them when I did the intercessory prayer sermon. Today's prayers are intercessory too but we'll look at the specifics of what Paul prayed for his fellow Christians; realizing that we should be focused on these things too.
1) "Fill 'em up!"
Col. 1:9-12, "For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light."
What Paul prays for here you see him expound on in the rest of his letter to the Colossians. When you get to chapter three you see the nuts and bolts of how the things he prays for in these verses gets accomplished.
"For this reason". In the preceding verses, Paul highlights their faith in Christ and their love for the saints. He mentions that the gospel has been bearing fruit and growing among them. Therefore, Paul wants them to continue in this and keep thriving. We should be like that. When we hear about how well someone is doing in the Lord and all the work they are doing we should be compelled to pray that it would only grow and increase from there.
"Fill you with knowledge of his will". Paul wants the Colossian church to fully know the will of God. Being filled with the knowledge of his will comes when I am filled with the desire to do his will. The beginning of Rom. 12 tells me that when I choose to no longer be conformed to the pattern of the world and instead be transformed by the renewing of my mind I will be able to test and approve what God's will is.
I can't really be filled with the knowledge of the will of God if I'm not able to determine and agree with God's will. God's will won't be clear if I'm not thinking spiritually. The clearer his will becomes and the more I approve of his will the more I will apply it and the more I will be filled with it.
"Through all spiritual wisdom and understanding." Notice Paul said spiritual wisdom. There are two kinds of wisdom.
James 3:13-17, "Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.
Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere."
Worldly wisdom is dangerous because it draws us away from God because in our pride we think we’re so smart we don’t need God. But if we are truly wise and understanding we will recognize our great need for God. We will be humble, realizing that we can do no good thing apart from him. Godly wisdom recognizes our dependence on God.
Worldly wisdom is manipulative, deceptive and coercive. It seeks dishonest gain. There are many criminals who are very smart at what they do. That's worldly wisdom; not heavenly wisdom. Heavenly wisdom brings forth good fruit; not bad fruit.
And then we see why Paul prayed these things in Col. 1: it was so they would live a worthwhile life, please the Lord in every way, bear fruit in every work, grow in their knowledge of God, be strong, have great endurance, patience and gratitude.
It's like Paul is saying that if they were to be filled with the knowledge of God's will and had spiritual wisdom and understanding then the result would be all these wonderful attributes. This is the total transformation. To please the Lord in every way and to bear fruit in every work is living a life that is worthwhile.