“For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding…” Colossians 1:9.
Watch carefully as you read these passages because in the New King James Version, used in this study, and in the New American Standard Version nearly the whole passage, verses 9-12, is one sentence.
The old King James Version and the American Standard Version render verses 9-17 as one sentence; so watch your punctuation when you read it, it may clarify the way you interpret it.
The reason they have not ceased to pray for the Colossians is that Epaphras, who may have started the church, had reported to the apostle of the three graces which existed in this church; their faith in Christ, their love for all the saints, and their hope in heaven.
“…since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints; because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel…” Colossians 1:4-5.
And finally their love in the Spirit, verse 8. Epaphras would also have reported the problems in the church which triggered this epistle (letter) to them.
“… [Epaphras] who also declared to us your love in the Spirit.” Colossians 1:8.
The heresies which had been brought into the church by ungodly men or naïve Christians were, Gnosticism, asceticism, Jewish legalism, and the worship of angels, were covered in “Truth of the Gospel, Colossians Introduction” posted here on 1-25-20.
Paul says here that we, “…do not cease to pray for you”. Unceasing prayer should be every Christian’s hallmark.
Folks seem to think that prayer is something that you have to get down on your knees for or to do at a prayer meeting, and this is good, but prayer can be a continual thing throughout the day, or for when someone comes into your mind.
One man suddenly became concerned about a person he knew but had not talked to in a while. Not knowing what to pray for but feeling the urgency, he prayed for the man’s protection and to help him through whatever the problem was.
Out of curiosity he called his friend’s home and talked to his wife, he found out that at the time he prayed for him he was being robbed. However the thief suddenly just dropped the man’s wallet and walked away.
If you get a feeling of urgency like that, do not think, well I will have to pray for it tonight. Do it right now!
You do not have to kneel or take off your shoes; in fact you do not even have to close your eyes or mouth the words, just pray to God in your heart, right there, right then, this is what this man did and may even have saved a life.
Nehemiah, one of the great examples of leadership had a somewhat similar experience when he became concerned about the condition of the walls and gates of Jerusalem which were in ruins see Nehemiah chapters 1 and 2.
With this in mind he fasted and prayed for God to take pity on those in Jerusalem because they were in distress.
Hear this; Nehemiah did not begin to see his prayers answered for about three months. When you pray, have patience.
“And it came to pass in the month of Nisan [March-April, year was 444 B.C.], in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, that I took the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had never been sad in his presence before. Therefore the king said to me, ‘Why is your face sad, since you are not sick? This is nothing but sorrow of heart.’ Then I became dreadfully afraid, and said to the king, ‘May the king live forever! Why should my face not be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ tombs, lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire?’ Then the king said to me, ‘What do you request?’ So I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said to the king, ‘If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, I ask that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ tombs, that I may rebuild it.’” Nehemiah 2:1-5.
The point being made here is that when the king asked what was bothering Nehemiah, he sent up a quick prayer, “So I prayed to the God of heaven”; in other words, he prayed quickly, in his heart, to God for the wisdom as to what to ask for. The king may not even have been aware of the hesitation while he prayed.
It is true that there was a lot of groundwork laid in prayer and fasting earlier; but the point is that quick earnest prayers are heard by God as well as the carefully crafted, well thought out ones. Use this when you are in peril or facing a difficulty, God is always listening to you.
I have even prayed while an accident was happening, within seconds, and I came out without any injuries, this in spite of the fact that I should have been seriously hurt.
Take my advice, even in the midst of a car wreck; cry out to Jesus to save you and those with you!
“…pray without ceasing” 1 Thessalonians 5:17.
Again, back in Colossians 1:9, the apostle goes on to tell them what they prayed for.
“…to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will…” Colossians 1:9b.
By knowledge it is meant a full and accurate knowledge as from God. The knowledge of His will shows us how we should walk through this life.
I found the following on the internet. I do not know who the author is but it is worth considering.
“Everything you do is based on the choices you make. It’s not your parents, your past relationships, your job, the economy, the weather, an argument or your age that is to blame. You and only you are responsible for every decision and choice you make. Period.”
Right choices can only be made with the full knowledge of God prayed for and used by the Christian.
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2.
“Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” Ephesians 5:17.
The J.B. Phillips version of the New Testament renders this part of verse 9 a little more clearly: “…since we heard about you we have never missed you in our prayers. We are asking God that you may see things, as it were, from His point of view by being given spiritual insight and understanding.”
“…in all wisdom and spiritual understanding…” Colossians 1:9c.
This wisdom is opposed to the false philosophy of the Gnostics.
“Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.” Colossians 2:8.
And of the ascetics:
“These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.” Colossians 2:23.
The dictionary defines wisdom as the knowledge of what is true or right coupled with good judgment.
“There is no wisdom or understanding or counsel against the Lord.” Proverbs 21:30.
“Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool [the wisdom of God is foolishness to the world] that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, ‘He catches the wise in their own craftiness’; and again, ‘The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.’” 1 Corinthians 3:18-20.
“The fear [reverent trust] of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Proverbs 9:10.
“The fear [reverent trust] of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7.
“For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding [Scripture, the word of God]…” Proverbs 2:6.
“Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding.” Proverbs 4:7.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.” James 1:5-6.
Knowledge then is gained through careful study of God’s word. Knowledge is of little use if one has not the wisdom to use it with good judgment.
Knowledge is also alone without a spiritual understanding of it; that is to know what it is God is saying to you through His word.
“For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2:11-14.
“…[I Paul]do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding [inner spiritual eyes] being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raise Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places…” Ephesians 1:16-20.
So it is true of the Colossians and of us, that knowledge of God’s will through the study of His word, wisdom, and spiritual understanding (using our inner spiritual eyes), meditating on, and careful consideration of the Scriptures will bring us to real Christian maturity. The result then is that they are all necessary together to achieve the goals shown in the next two verses.
“…that you may have a walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy” Colossians 1:10-11.
Colossians 1:9 taken from godisrevealed.com posted on 11-25-13, updated on 2-4-20.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version, copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission, all rights reserved.