I’m sure it’s no coincidence that as I’ve been prepping for this term’s studies on Colossians over the summer it’s been the verses about prayer that have stood out, and then to return from the holidays and find that prayer is exactly the topic that Eddie is preaching on! God often seems to move several currents in one direction to get me to the place he wants me to be.
I’ve always struggled with prayer. I could blame it on having distracting children, or previously, a busy full-time job, but in reality, it’s always been something I’ve found difficult. When I read Paul saying at the start of Colossians, “We always pray for you” (v3), and “We have not stopped praying for you” (v9), I get a guilty jolt. After all, these were people he had never even met and I seem to struggle to even pray regularly for my family. Why is it so hard?
Then I started to look at what Paul prays for the Colossians:
“We ask God to give you complete knowledge of His will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding… We also pray that you will be strengthened with all His glorious power so that you will have the endurance and patience you need.” (v9,12)
Paul doesn’t pray for the Colossians’ safety, finances, or even their health. He is asking that the they will know God’s character in full, and deepen their knowledge of Him. To know God is to understand His love for us, and to be completely secure in that. From this flows the “joy” (v11) we need for a full and active prayer life. After all, we naturally spend more time doing the things we love, especially when it’s with people we love, and if we are growing to love God more and more, we will want to spend time with Him, rather than it feeling like a chore.
I realised that what is especially exciting about these verses is that Paul is asking quite simply for what God has already promised. God says again and again in His Word that his goal is to make us, his children, more like Him. So, to ask for these things: “complete knowledge of His will, spiritual wisdom and understanding”; “His glorious power” is exactly what God wants us to ask Him for. God loves it when we hold Him to his promises because then He can deliver precious and good gifts to his children, rather than the foolish things that we ask for.
Paul understood that our greatest is to need to know God more, and I take encouragement that this can be my primary focus in prayer, and the best prayer that I can pray for others. It massively takes the pressure off me, stopping me from sitting in anxious silence trying to list all things I think I should be praying for others and myself, and instead sitting in joyful relationship with my Father, praying what He has told me to, for the eternal good of His kingdom.