As I have been plodding my way through the book of Colossians, I was so looking forward to studying and teaching on Paul's prayer in Colossians 1:9-12. I have been so blessed in the past when I have studied the different prayers of Paul. I remember several years ago reading a book by D. A. Carson called A Call To Spiritual Reformation. In this book, he goes through every prayer that Paul prays and dissects them to show what our prayer life could be like.
I know my prayer life is shallow at times. I know that I tend to pray for surface and trivial things. I know it is important to pray for the health of individuals, but my prayer life should not stop there. Too often it does. What I learned in this prayer by Paul was that a deep growing knowledge of Jesus and His desire for my life is so important that it should consume my prayers. In reality, as Paul lived with Jesus at the center, it created a depth to His prayers that I seldom see in mine.
Epaphras had traveled to Rome to tell Paul what had happened in the evangelization and church planting efforts in Colossae (his message would have included their positive response to the gospel as well as the impending false teaching). Paul rejoiced and gave thanks to God for the people of Colossae and began to pray for them. His prayer for them was singular: that they would be "filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding" (Col 1:9).
Paul was not praying that they would understand the Lord's will as if some big decision needed to be made, but he was praying that they would come to know the Lord is such a personal way that they would know His desires for them in their life. This desire then would lead them to "walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects" (Col 1:10). Knowledge of the Lord leads to walking with the Lord!
From there, Paul gives the evidences of walking with the Lord: bearing fruit (1:10), increasing knowledge (1:10), growing stronger (1:11), and giving thanks (1:12).
What I learned this week has changed the way I pray for my kids. I am praying that they will come to really know the Lord. I want them to know the Lord so well that it changes the way they walk in this life. I want them to not focus on the fruit, knowledge, strength, thanksgiving (as the evidences show us), but I want them to so know His desire for their life so they will naturally walk with Him.
But before I pray that for my kids, I am praying that for myself. I am praying that my knowledge of the Lord would not be intellectual, but practical in my life. I want my life so focused on Jesus that it impacts the way I pray. No longer do I only want my prayers focused on the physical, but I want them focused on the spiritual.
So, how do you pray?