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Tuesday, August 20, 2019

What Would You Pray for Your Church?

Now, I understand that the biblical languages of Greek and Hebrew didn't follow English rules for punctuation and such, but even without them these four verses appear to be one thought.
And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. (Col 1:9-12)
One sentence? Well, in this translation it is. But, it's a huge thought.

Paul is following up ("And so") on what he just wrote about hearing of the faith of the Colossian church. He is telling them his prayer for them. This is especially significant because we don't actually know when Colossae got the Gospel. It's very possible that it was Epaphras (Col 1:7). There is, however, no record of Paul ever going there. So Paul is writing of his joy of hearing of their faith and his prayer for this group of believers that he may have never met. What did Paul pray for this fledgling church? Paul prays for three things: knowledge, fruit, and strength.

The Knowledge of His Will
He prays first that they would be filled with the knowledge of His will. Now, this isn't "Should I take this job or that?" or the like. It's the will that God has revealed. It's God's Word, clearly presented and readily available. His prayer isn't that they'd be acquainted with this knowledge, but filled -- abound, inundated, filled to the top. His prayer is that they would be saturated with God's Word, providing all spiritual wisdom and understanding.

Bearing Fruit
The result of this Bible-steeped experience we be that they would "walk in a manner worthy of the Lord." Well, of course, how could you expect to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord if you didn't know His will? How would you know how to please Him if you didn't know what He wanted? Being filled with the knowledge of His will, they would be "bearing fruit in every good work." And they would grow in their comprehension of God.

Strengthened With Power
All of this requires power. Paul's prayer is that they would be "strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might." This isn't casual power. This isn't "pull myself up by my bootstraps." It's not "bear down and get to it." This is God-power. It is His glorious power supplied to the believer. This kind of power provides endurance and patience with joy. It provides the ability to remain in the game under duress and to do so with joy.

For this, Paul gives thanks and understands that they will give thanks. After all, God has "qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints." This is Paul's prayer for that young church.

Makes sense, doesn't it? A group of believers with intense knowledge of God's revealed will found in His Word would be spiritually wise and understanding. They would seek to please God by being worthy of Him. They would operate in His power, not merely their own. This church would be marked by endurance, patience, joy, and gratitude. Now that is the church I want to be part of! That's my prayer for my church. Amen, Paul.

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