Hello, I’m Daniel Westfall on the channel “Pray With Me”.
Today, we look at Paul’s prayer for the Colossians. He says:
I ask God to
fill you with the knowledge of his will
through all spiritual wisdom and understanding,
so that you may
live a life worthy of the Lord
pleasing him in every way,
bearing fruit in every good work, and
growing in the knowledge of God,
strengthened with all power according to his glorious might,
so that you may have great endurance and patience,
joyfully giving thanks to the father,
who has made you to share in the inheritance of the saints
in the kingdom of light (Col 1:9-12).
This is another of Paul’s sweepingly broad prayers for the early church. If I submitted it to my editor, he would mark it up as a run-on sentence, and tell me to simplify and clarify.
Notice what vast territory Paul surveys in his prayer. He wants us to
– know God’s will,
– have spiritual wisdom,
– live a life worthy of the Lord,
– do good works,
– know God better,
– become strong in God’s might,
– have endurance and patience with joy,
– and be glad citizens of the kingdom of light.
That’s a grand view of how we should live the Christian life. Rather intimidating, I find it. I wish Paul offered simple steps toward that lofty goal, instead of casting such a large vision I don’t know how to begin achieving it.
A second thing to notice in Paul’s prayer is the word “endurance”. Of all the virtues of the Christian life, endurance is seldom mentioned. Some translations choose the word “persevere”, probably because it sounds more spiritual than “endure”. As in, “We must persevere to the end” compared with, “My life is so overrun with problems I can barely endure it.”
When a college friend was having a difficult semester, swamped with studies and personal doubts, I said, “As you suffer through this semester, you need endurance.” “Really?” he said. I replied, “Yes. It doesn’t feel very spiritual just to stick it out when times are tough, but Paul says it’s the foundation on which we build character and hope” (Rom. 5:3-4).
Our father, we endure many things.
We endure Facebook friends who daily post offensive and divisive opinions. Give us wisdom when to endure patiently, when to be silent, when to respond, and when to hit the “unfriend” button.
We endure endless news of political posturing and accusation and recrimination. The discourse is acrimonious, opinions often hateful. Lord, help us to endure the decay of western civilization. Help us discern the truth, and bear fruit in every good work.
O God, we have begun to endure a winter of COVID-19 isolation, cabin fever, darkness, and depression. Grant us patient endurance with hope.
Many of us endure advancing age, deteriorating health, chronic pain, broken relationships, persistent doubts. O God, may we patiently endure all that is wrong with our lives and the world.
And as we endure, may we take Paul’s advice to joyfully give thanks to the father who has made us citizens in his kingdom of light (Col 1:11-13). Thank you that Christ has established your kingdom of light, O God, that we are citizens of his country, and that our journey through this dark world is a journey home to your city of light.
I’m Daniel on the channel “Pray with Me”.