I want to share with you my absolute go-to prayer when someone is hurting, weary, grieving, disappointed, confused, if they are tired, weak, depressed, dry or defeated. This is also my go-to prayer for people on the top of the mountain, in victory, a heart full of praise, for people who are rejoicing and seeing God’s hand at work, or in a season of ease and tangible blessing. I believe, that no matter what situation or circumstance, this prayer is one God is pleased to answer – it is His will because you can pray it according to His Word!
Isn’t it just like God to make His Word applicable to us at any stage in life. Not every scripture speaks to every season, but this particular prayer Paul prayed for the Colossians, I believe, is one that does! Colossians 1:9-14
9 So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of His will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. 10 Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.
11 We also pray that you will be strengthened with all His glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, 12 always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to His people, who live in the light. 13 For He has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of His dear Son, 14 who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.
There are 10 points I want us to consider as we look at this life-giving, go-to prayer for any season or situation of life:
- Do Not Stop Praying (v. 9)
Keep on asking! That’s what Jesus tells us to do in Matthew 7:7-8. Even when you feel like giving up on something or on someone, persevere in prayer!
- Complete knowledge of His Will (v. 9)
What a great, great request this is! Romans 12:2 tells us that by the renewing of our minds we can learn His will, which is good, pleasing, and perfect. God is pleased to answer this prayer, because in effect you are praying for a mind to be renewed so that this person can know the will of God. Something I have said for so many years is that I do not believe our God is in the business of keeping us in confusion – He is pleased when we want to know His best plan…but will we persist in prayer and His Word long enough to have our minds transformed so that we can learn what His will is? We can pray boldly to have complete knowledge of His will!
- Spiritual Wisdom & Understanding (v. 9)
Here is another amazing thing to pray! To have spiritual wisdom is so awesome, listen to this! The Greek word for wisdom is “Sophia” and it means this (according to Strong’s Lexicon):
the varied knowledge of things human and divine, acquired by acuteness (sharpness of mind) and experience
science and learning
interpreting dreams and always giving the sagest advice
intelligence evidenced in discovering the meaning of mysterious numbers or visions
skill in the management of affairs
devout and proper prudence in dealing with those who are not Christ followers, skill and discretion in imparting Christian truth
the knowledge and practice of the requisites for Godly and upright living
That almost overwhelms me, does it you? Can you check off a couple things on that list of 7 that you or someone you’re praying for needs? I love God’s Word, it is so encompassing we have no idea until we get in and study it what kind of access we have in prayer – things unimaginable! Did you know by asking for this kind of spiritual wisdom you are praying that someone will have the ability to share the Good News more effectively? Or that they will have skill in the managing of affairs? In science and learning? That they will acquire knowledge as if they have had the experience? Amazing. Start praying for some “Sophia” wisdom for your loved ones and friends – we need it, Lord! And we haven’t even touched “understanding” yet…so here goes:
Understanding, Greek “Synesis” – it suggests quickness of apprehension, the penetrating consideration which precedes action, understanding, reflective thought.
I don’t know about you, but I know that I think we all need some quickness of apprehension and certainly could use penetrating consideration which precedes our actions. If we are to represent Jesus well on this Earth, then we certainly need this kind of understanding!
- Lives that always honor & please the Lord, producing every kind of good fruit. (v. 10)
My mind immediately goes to John 15:8 right here. “When you produce much fruit, you are My true disciples. This brings great glory to My Father.”
The word “honor” here is interpreted in other translations, “a life worthy.” The NIV says, “so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work…” We can be assured that if we live lives that honor and please and are worthy of the Lord, the evidence will be good fruit, and that proves that we are His true disciples.
- Growth, as you learn to know God better & better (v. 10)
Several other translations render this statement, “increasing or growing in the knowledge of God.” You have probably heard many times that in the Christian life there is no stand-still, you are either growing or shrinking back in your faith, either moving forward or backwards. I know what I want to do, and I know what I want for the people I am praying for as well! If we want to know God better and better and grow in the knowledge of Him, His Word is the best place to start. That is why He gave it to us!
We have ridiculous access to the Word of God in America, so much so that I believe it has caused us to lose our hunger for God as the Body of Christ. Much like the Isrealites begged Moses for meat, and when the quail came after a while they were way tired of it. It no longer meant what it used to mean to them. Lord, forgive us from the sinful belief that we know You as well as we need to, forgive us for not reverencing and hungering for Your Word as we should as our daily bread – and Father give us an insatiable hunger to know You better and better by knowing Your Word!
- Be strengthened with ALL His glorious power (v. 11)
When I was first teaching “Jesus Loves Me” to my little boy, I kept having an issue with teaching him to say “they are weak”, then the Lord showed me that worldly thinking had slipped into my mind. I was thinking that I did not want my boy speaking weakness over himself. But as the next line so beautifully goes with it, “but HE is strong!” If we can understand that our strength comes from His glorious power, and denounce the world’s lie that we have to muster up our own strength, we will get it right! I have wasted so much time in my life by trying to rely on my own strength, which always fails. Jesus does not fail! His power is unending and has no limitation. I want my baby boy growing up to be free to own his weakness that he might cling to the glorious power of God which will make him strong! We all need that, Amen?!
Just quick note on the Greek here, which I find totally fascinating…the Greek for strengthened is “dynamoo.” If you look at “dynamo’s” root-word you find the word “dynamis.” Dynamis is the word Paul used for power in this same verse! Let me explain further – God is telling us through Paul that our strength comes from His power…and with the Greek words Paul used, he gave the readers a literal word picture. Just as the word, dynamoo comes from the word dynamis…our strength comes from God’s Power. Sign me up!
- ALL the endurance & patience you need (v. 11)
Of all the things I think we need under trial, these two things are paramount. Let’s let the Word of the Lord speak to our hearts, here are some definitions so that we can better understand endurance and patience:
Endurance (Greek – Hypomone): in the New Testament the characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and reverence for God (piety) by even the greatest trials and sufferings; steadfast waiting for; a patient enduring, sustaining, perseverance (Vines Expositor’s Dictionary)
Patience (Greek – Makrothymia): patience, endurance, constancy, steadfastness, perseverance, forbearance, longsuffering, slowness in avenging wrongs (Strong’s Lexicon)
We are faced daily with trials and sufferings of many kinds. Our trials seem almost trivial if we compare our lives to those people who live in third-world countries or hostile nations like Syria or Iran. But, you know what I know about our God? He sees what breaks our hearts just like He sees what breaks our brothers’ and sisters’ hearts in much harsher environments by comparison. Comparison kills us whether we are elevating ourselves above someone else or burying ourselves below them. God is sovereign, and we are all in equal need of His love and power in our lives, no matter who we are or where we live. Maybe you have a harsh environment where you live, or you know someone who really has tremendous hardship or sufferings right now. We are not to discount those things – our God sees us and He knows what we need. And the Holy Spirit is our Comforter no matter where or who we are, as long as we are in Christ.
You and I also need a special measure of endurance and patience, because we live in the U.S. where we are inundated by the “instant-ness” of life. We can DVR our TV so that we do not even have to patiently endure 3 minutes of commercials anymore! You can buy a book and instantly read it on your phone or tablet within seconds. We really need the Lord to teach us endurance and patience, I do not know anyone who does not struggle with these two things.
When we face roadblocks or something seems to be taking too long, according to our own understanding, our first inclination is to bust out of whatever it is, to get out from under the pressure we may feel – we want relief! We desperately need endurance and patience if we are going to represent Jesus well in the world, after all – what better example do we have than He Himself patiently enduring waiting 30 years to even begin His ministry, then three years of teaching amongst hostile religious leaders, and then on top of all that – patiently enduring the Cross.
The Greek root-word for endurance is “Hypomeno” which is to remain, to tarry behind; i.e. abide, not recede or flee. To persevere: under misfortunes and trials to hold fast to one’s faith in Christ; to endure, bear ill treatments bravely and calmly.
What a beautiful thing to pray for someone! Instead of praying that God will change their (our) circumstances and release them (us) from pain or trial or difficulty – what if we began praying that they (we) would be so strengthened by all His glorious power, and be so full of the endurance and patience we need – that they (we) would not recede or flee but persevere in misfortune and trials and hold fast to their (our) faith in Jesus; that they (we) would bear ill treatments bravely and calmly and refuse the temptation to avenge wrongs against them (us). Oh that’s so good, Lord!
Hebrews 12:1-2 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now He is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.
Because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured. That is the true mark of a champion, I love the NLT uses that word to describe our Savior!
- Be Filled with Joy (v. 11)
The coolest thing about joy is that it is not dependent upon circumstances. It means, according the Strong’s Lexicon: rejoice exceedingly, to be well, thrive.
I want those I pray for to rejoice exceedingly and to be well and to thrive! That’s a prayer I can get down with, how about you? It reminds me of James 1:2-4
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
Did you notice these same words and concepts here? Troubles can lead to Joy -> Faith gets Tested -> Endurance has a chance to Grow -> when our endurance is fully developed = we are complete, lacking nothing. Amen.
- Always thanking the Father (v. 12a)
I could write an entire post, and probably will at some point, on this word. Thanks/thanking/thanksgiving – it is the Greek “Eucharisteo” and it changed my life several years ago after I listened to the audio version of Ann Voskamp’s book “One Thousand Gifts.” I have listened to it 3 more times since then, and each time I have a greater understanding of what it means to give God thanks in everything.
I want to be the kind of daughter that is always thanking my Father.
Jesus was the kind of Son that was always thanking The Father. Check this out!
to be grateful,
to feel thankful,
to give thanks
Could there be a more encompassing definition than this? Be. Feel. Give.
Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, asks the Lord that we’d ALWAYS be thanking the Father. What the definition gets at, is that we can (even when we do not “feel” thankful), give thanks. And when we give thanks, we begin to feel thanks, and that creates a state of “being” thankful in our hearts. If we can push through the lack of feeling into obedience of what God asks of us, inevitably our feelings will come around. God is a God powerful enough to change our “want to” our “feelings” and our “state of being.” All we need to do is humble ourselves, and be obedient to what He is saying to us right now. This day our daily bread.
One step at a time, patiently enduring and relying on His glorious power as our strength, all the while we are growing in our knowledge of Him and discovering through the transformative power of His Word what His will is, and our lives begin to bear fruit and thereby honor the greatness of His Name. And finally, to the crux of it all in verse 14…the truth of the Good News!
- The truth is that He enables us to share in the inheritance that belongs to His people who live in the light, He rescued us out of the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of His dear Son – Who purchased our freedom & forgave our sins. (v. 12b-14)
The next verses in Colossians 1:15-20 go on to describe the incomparable greatness and power and superiority of Jesus Christ our Lord. No matter who we are praying for, saved, not saved, struggling or succeeding – we all need Jesus. We all need Him equally as bad as the next person. The Good News is that He Himself came down and rescued us out of the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of His dear Son, by means of Christ’s blood on the cross – He purchased our freedom and forgave our sins. THIS is what enables us to live the life He died and rose again to give us!
A life of prayer & unhindered communication with God – complete knowledge of His will – experiencing wisdom and understanding we could not have apart from Him – lives that honor and please the Lord – lives that bear every kind of good fruit – growing through knowing God better and better – being strengthened with all His glorious power – more endurance – more patience – being filled with joy – always thanking the Father – knowing, receiving, and walking in the truth of the Good News of Jesus Christ. That is life and life to the full, if you ask me!
I want to leave you with just the coolest, most refreshing take on these words from The Message translation ->
Colossians 1:9-14 The Message (MSG)
9-12 Be assured that from the first day we heard of you, we haven’t stopped praying for you, asking God to give you wise minds and spirits attuned to His will, and so acquire a thorough understanding of the ways in which God works. We pray that you’ll live well for the Master, making Him proud of you as you work hard in His orchard. As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that He has for us.
13-14 God rescued us from dead-end alleys and dark dungeons. He’s set us up in the kingdom of the Son He loves so much, the Son who got us out of the pit we were in, got rid of the sins we were doomed to keep repeating.
Goodness Gracious, can I get an AMEN!?!?! That’s my prayer for you today, and I pray that you, too, can pray with more boldness when you understand these words God inspired in the letter Paul wrote to the Believers in Colosse.
The Lord Jesus Christ is worthy of this kind of life, and He is so so so worth it!