1 I, Paul, am writing this letter. I am an apostle of Christ Jesus just as God planned. Our brother Timothy joins me in writing. 2 We are sending this letter to you, our brothers and sisters in Colossae. You belong to Christ. You are holy and faithful. May God our Father give you grace and peace. 3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you. 4 We thank him because we have heard about your faith in Christ Jesus. We have also heard that you love all God’s people. 5 Your faith and love are based on the hope you have. What you hope for is stored up for you in heaven. You have already heard about it. You were told about it when the true message was given to you. I’m talking about the good news 6 that has come to you. In the same way, the good news is bearing fruit. It is bearing fruit and growing all over the world. It has been doing that among you since the day you heard it. That is when you really understood God’s grace. 7 You learned the good news from Epaphras. He is dear to us. He serves Christ together with us. He faithfully works for Christ and for us among you. 8 He also told us about your love that comes from the Holy Spirit. 9 That’s why we have not stopped praying for you. We have been praying for you since the day we heard about you. We keep asking God to fill you with the knowledge of what he wants. We pray he will give you the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives. 10 Then you will be able to lead a life that is worthy of the Lord. We pray that you will please him in every way. So we want you to bear fruit in every good thing you do. We pray that you will grow to know God better. 11 We want you to be very strong, in keeping with his glorious power. We want you to be patient. We pray that you will never give up. 12 We want you to give thanks with joy to the Father. He has made you fit to have what he will give to all his holy people. You will all receive a share in the kingdom of light. 13 He has saved us from the kingdom of darkness. He has brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves. 14 Because of what the Son has done, we have been set free. Because of him, all our sins have been forgiven.
Recently as I’ve read the beginnings of the various letters that the Apostle Paul wrote to different churches, I’ve been struck by the types of prayers that he records in his letters.
Paul writes to the Colossians that he continually asks God to fill them with the knowledge of His will, and for wisdom and understanding through the Spirit, as well as the strength to endure.
I notice that here, and in other letters, that Paul does not ask God take away their challenges or to necessarily change difficult circumstances. Instead he asks for God’s knowledge, wisdom, strength, endurance and patience in the midst of what they are facing.
How often do I focus solely on asking God to change difficult circumstances for either myself or for those I am praying for? And yet, over and over again the bible teaches us that there is benefit in going through a trial and allowing God to shape our character and accomplish His (far superior) plans rather than merely trying to escape the difficulty.
So I would like to use this awareness to shift the focus in my prayers from asking God to take away troubles, towards asking for Him for wisdom, strength and the knowledge of His will in every circumstance.
God, today I acknowledge that Your ways are perfect and all your ways are just. May I, and those that I am praying for, be strengthened with all power to have great endurance and patience.
Written by Shelley Witt