2008-11-22 - Sanctified Knowledge
Colossians 1:9, "For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding."
At the start of his letter to the Colossians, Paul speaks of how he and Timothy had prayed for them, and he sets a time on it. He says, "since the day we heard of it." We get the idea that he and Timothy immediately started praying for the church located there, when they heard of their faith, love (vs. 4), and hope (vs. 5). They began to pray at once. This is a lesson from the Apostle to us all. When we learn of something worthy of prayer for the first time, and all things are worthy of prayer, let us right then pray concerning the matter. Pray at once. Shoot up that little prayer to the Lord. So you meet a friend in the shopping mall who you have not seen in a while, use the benches that are present in all malls, and as you sit together and catch up, be sure to bring the Lord in and pray together. If the person is not one to pray with you, sit down and pray for them yourself. The meeting was not a chance encounter. There are no such things. The Lord brought you each into each other's company. Bring the Lord into it with you, by prayer. The principle can be applied in many ways. May we find ourselves always in prayer, lingering not even for a moment, as we speed to the mercy seat.
Paul also says that they have ceased not to pray for the church at Colosse. This does not mean that Paul prayed every moment for them, but it is as the admonition in 1 Thess. 5:17, "Pray without ceasing." Desire is the essence of prayer, and we see Paul here saying that his desire for their welfare, and being in the will of God, was constant. It was his heart, his inward wish and longing for the Lord, to give them a filling of "the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding." The act of praying is blessed by God, but let us remember, also, that the spirit of prayer is even more blessed. It shows our cravings, yearnings, and longings for the Lord, to hear our prayers which proceed from the depths of our hearts.
The next verse tells us why, "So that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God," Col. 1:10. Paul's prayers and Timothy's prayers were directed that those in the church at Colosse would be Christlike. They prayed that the character of Jesus might be formed in them. The prayers are aimed at practical results. This is true knowledge, and wisdom is the application of what we know. So the prayers were not simply for knowledge, but applied knowledge - knowledge with wisdom, or maybe better stated, sanctified knowledge.
This is also to be our desire, and let us seek it of the Lord. Let us pray on behalf of ourselves, and those we know, that they obtain sanctified knowledge -- even to be filled with it. This is to be filled with holiness, filled with the indwelling of the Spirit, filled with God, and this is how we grow into the likeness of Christ. It is an excellent window into prayer, that we have in this passage, and it is worth our meditation - but even more, it is worthy of our application.
Soli Deo Gloria,