Colossians 1:9-14 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, (10) 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. (11) May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, (12) giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. (13) He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, (14) in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Paul was exposing a heresy in the Colossian church that was similar to Gnosticism. Gnostics valued the accumulation of knowledge, but Paul pointed out that knowledge in itself is empty. To be worth anything, it must lead to a changed life and right living. His prayer for the Colossians has two dimensions:
(1) that they might have complete knowledge of God's will and have spiritual wisdom and understanding; (2) that their lives would produce every kind of good fruit, even as they learned to know God better and better.
Knowledge is not merely to be accumulated; it should give us direction for living. Paul wanted the Colossians to be wise, but he also wanted them to use their knowledge. Knowledge of God is not a secret that only a few can discover; it is open to everyone. God wants us to learn more about him, and also to put belief into practice by helping others.
What a great pattern Paul gives us in these verses to pray for missionaries, pastors, and other spiritual leaders. If we aren't careful, we can become very selfish in our prayers, and never make it around to praying for others. It is a very real temptation. Jesus over and over again exhorts us to pray for each other. Paul tells us to "bear one another's burdens" and to pray without ceasing for our brothers and sisters in the Lord.
If you are having a difficult time with someone at work, school, church, in your family, then pray for them. When I hear someone who constantly bashes a person, I know they haven't prayed for them on a regular basis. We are living in troubling times. The enemy is working overtime to sow discord in the church, in our families, at work, in our communties, because he knows God will not bless discord. He moves when His people get in one accord. Because the enemy is attacking our spiritual leaders, we need to make sure we intercede for them daily.
There are times we struggle in how to pray for those who have been ordained of God to lead us. Paul had never met the Colossians, but he faithfully prayed for them. His prayers teach us how to pray for others, whether we know them or not. He gives us nine things that we can pray daily for our pastors and missionaries. Let's look at them.
We can request that they:
(1) understand what God wants them to do,
(2) gain spiritual wisdom,
(3) honor and please God,
(4) produce every kind of good fruit,
(5) learn to know God better and better,
(6) be strengthened with God's glorious power,
(7) have great endurance and patience,
(8) be filled with joy,
(9) give thanks always.
All believers have these same basic needs. When you don't know how to pray for someone, use Paul's prayer pattern for the Colossians.
"Lord, I am so thankful for this passage today. You not only encourage us to pray for those in leadership, You even give us a pattern to follow. In this day and age that we live in, may we all commit ourself to pray for our pastors, missionaries, evangelist, teachers and others in leadership. I refuse to be used by the devil, but I want to be used by Your precious Holy Spirit daily as I intercede following this pattern. In Jesus' name, amen!"