Praying for The Knowledge of His Will
Colossians 1:9, “For this reasons also, since the day we heard 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.”
I have literally been part of the church my entire life. That is fifty years of being immersed in American Evangelical culture and for the most part I am very thankful for that. One of the parts of that culture that I have observed over the years is that of the prayer request and the prayers that we give in response to those requests. We pray for many things; people who are ill or injured (which we absolutely should do). We pray for success in our activities and on our jobs. We pray for the success of our children at school and in their activities. We pray for our preferred political candidates; we pray for our favorite sports teams and athletes. But rarely do we pray the way the apostle Paul prays here in Colossians 1:9-13.
Paul is writing this letter to his fellow brothers and sisters in Christ in the city of Colossae. He is writing to them while he is under the guard of a Roman soldier 24 hours a day 7 days a week. The city of Colossae was in the Roman province of Asia, what is today modern Turkey. The city was on the banks of the Lycus River and was a prosperous and thriving city. The church at Colossae had been planted during Paul’s three years of ministry at nearby Ephesus. The reason Paul is writing them is because he has become aware of the prevalence of false teaching at this church. Therefore Paul says in verse 9, “For this reason also, since the day we heard of it.” The “it” is false teachers who were sowing confusion and discord among the body of believers in Colossae through their non-Biblical false teaching.
False teaching has been an issue in the church since almost its inception. We live in a time when false teaching is very prevalent in the church. It seems today that there is precious little patience with solid Biblical teaching but an insatiable appetite for the charlatans of false teaching. Paul addresses the remedy to this in what amounts to a prayer. The first thing he prays for in verse 9 is “that” they “be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.”
“Knowledge” is the key to fighting false teaching in the church then and today. The reason that false teaching and false teachers have found a foothold, or worse, in so many churches and in so many Christians is because they lack knowledge. They have for the most part failed to invest their time and energy in the systematic study of the Word of God.
So, Paul prays, as should we, that we “be filled with the knowledge.” That word “knowledge” is not a feeling, it’s not an impression, it is not subjective. Rather this “knowledge” is deep-seated, settled, and the thorough “knowledge His will.” Where do we find this knowledge? We find it in the revealed Word of God, the Bible. In chapter 3 verse 16 says, “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you.”
We grow in our “knowledge of His will” not through experiences, not through our feelings, not through what other people tell us but through the Word of God, the Bible. We are filled with His “knowledge” when we study His Word. Now, Paul goes on in verse 9 and he says in his prayer that if we are filled with the “knowledge of His will” then we will also be filled with “spiritual wisdom and understanding.” “Spiritual wisdom” is the ability, given through the Holy Spirit, to accumulate and organize the principles of God’s Word. “Spiritual… understanding” is then the application of those principles on a daily basis in our lives.
Many professing Christians seem to lack wisdom and understanding and the reason for that is they have never really been exposed on any meaningful level, to the Word of God. I pray and I ask you to join me in this, that the churches in our community and so many others will faithfully exposite, preach, and teach the Word of God so that people may really have the “knowledge” of God.