A 2000-Year-Old Prayer in 2023
Tonight we will look at a 2000 year old prayer the Apostle shared made a church. This prayer is still as relevant today as it was then. This prayer is very applicable to those who are young in their faith.
We have plenty of people who are considered young in the faith. This is a prayer for them. It is also a reminder for those of us who are more mature in our faith of what our life and priorities should look like.
Paul wrote this letter while in prison to a church he had not visited before. He knew of them because of his friend Epaphras.
because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel,
- Colossians 1:5
7just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf 8and has made known to us your love in the Spirit.
- Colossians 1:7-8
This church was 1300 miles away from Paul yet he knew of their faith. This is like the distance from Choctaw, Oklahoma to Manitoba, Canada.
In this prayer we see what Paul requests, why he asks, and what the results are if they will follow through.
Paul wanted these Christians to be filled with knowledge.
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,
- Colossians 1:9
The first request Paul makes to God on their behalf is for them to be filled. We understand the concept of being filled quite well in America.
- Supersize a meal.
- Binge watch a show in a day.
- Halloween bags and buckets we fill up as much as we can.
Paul says he wants them to be filled with the knowledge of God's will. Filled means "bubbling over." Think of walking up to get your fountain drink. As you fill up that Dr. Pepper or Coke, you have to be careful because it bubbles over. This is the idea.
Paul has talking about being so filled with God and His will it bubbles over into your life. We don't come to God with an empty cup. We are filled with our will. We have to come fill ourselves up with Him to replace what we might fill ourselves with in this world.
We are always being filled in this life, but what are being filled with?
Nobody can fill me with His will but me. It's my cup. I'm the one who controls what is poured in it. At some point, we all become responsible for fueling ourselves.
Why is being filled with the knowledge of His will so vital?
Paul wanted this so they would live a life pleasing to God.
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;
- Colossians 1:10
Being filled with his will is vital because its how we come to live a life pleasing to God. You can know God's will and not live a life pleasing to God. But you cannot live a life pleasing to God if you don't know His will.
Filling yourselves with God's will changes the way you walk. If we don't know His will, how could we ever live in a way that pleases Him?
"Your not you, when you're hungry."
Typically you're not very Jesus like when you're unfulfilled.
How long did it take for you to learn what pleases your spouse? We must continue to learn His will and pursue Him so we can please Him in our lives. Knowing God and His will is a lifelong pursuit. It takes a dedicated effort to be filled. God is interested in our transformation, but that only comes from the information we learn from God.
Paul shares what this pleasing life would look like.
10so 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; 11being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; 12giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.
- Colossians 1:10-12
Notice how in the next verses, you find 4 participles that gives us a look of what pleases God in our walks. These 4 participles are actions the christian is involved in that pleases God.
You can identify these being the "ing" words in the section.
1. Bearing Fruit (vs. 10)
God desires fruitful Christians. Just like how a tree needs to be filled with all the right nutrients to produce, Christian need to be filled to produce.
- You can't run a marathon on E.
- You can't drive your car on E.
- You can't live a pleasing life when your spiritual tank is on E.
If we had a tree that didn't produce, we would understand something is wrong. If our child wasn't growing, we would take it to the doctor. If our car wasn't starting, we would get it checked out.
How do we react when we aren't producing fruit in good works?
Most of the time we aren't producing is the same time we aren't prioritizing putting God within us habitually.
There are good works of all kinds and we should be active in it. This pleases God.
2. Increasing in the knowledge of God (vs. 10)
Don't you like being pursued? So does God! Somebody trying to know you pleases you, it pleases God too. Notice this doesn't say increasing in the knowledge of God's will, but God Himself. Both are connected. But this isn't about memorizing Bible facts, but coming to know god more.
3. Being Strengthened (vs. 11)
God takes pleasure when we are strengthen by Him, by his glorious might.
Being filled is meant to strengthen us. A Christian who neglects the word of God is like a phone not plugged in overnight. You're lacking power and weak.
Notice why we are strengthened: For endurance. Trying to walk in a manner worthy is difficult because the road isn't easy and we often trip over our own feet. We can't do it on our own, we need help and strength.
God says we must be filled with knowledge if we want to have the strength to walk in a manner worthy of Him. Remember the milk commercials? Milk build strong bones…long for the pure milk of the word.
4. Giving thanks to the Father (vs. 12)
giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.
- Colossians 1:12
Look at the three reasons we gave thanks to the Father.
- He's qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.
- He's delivered us from the domain of darkness.
- He's transferred to the kingdom His son.
It is hard to be thankful for someone, when you don't think about them. How could you read this and not be mindful of the greatness of God and His graciousness toward us?
When we are filled with God and His will, we will be more thankful.
All four of these actions that please God in our walk require us to be filled with the knowledge of His will.
- Is being filled with God's will a priority in my life?
- Do I want to be fully pleasing to God?
- Does my life look like Paul's description of a life pleasing to God?