9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives. 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Col. 1:9-14 (ESV)
9 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.
Prayer is talking with God, it's being in communion with him in an intimate way if done correctly. So to pray without ceasing would be to be in constant conversation or communion with God. I have to admit, I don't really think this is possible. There is too much sin in the world... which means then it is something to strive for. So was Paul lying when he said that he prayed without ceasing for the people of Colossae? Given that the word of God is true and unwavering .... that can't be possible. So how does one as a Christian, living in a sin-filled world, with sin a part of who they are, pray without ceasing?
I know people, fellow believers, who can pray at the drop of a hat. I am not one of them.. I have to conscientiously stop and think about praying before I do so. Doesn't mean that I don't love God, but it's not a drop of the hat thing, and I wish it were so, and I am continuing to strive for that. I don't know.... This is a continued matter for thought.
But Paul's prayer for them is this:
1. that they may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding
2. so that they are able to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord,
3. that they be fully pleasing to him,
4. so that they can be bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.
5. that they be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy,
6. so that they can be giving thanks to the Father
7. because he has qualified them to share in the inheritance of the saints in light
Paul knows full well that God has delivered us from evil...from the darkness that is sin and despair and separation from God.
Paul knows that God has transferred us to a different kingdom... and kingdom where he reigns supreme... a kingdom of redemption and forgiveness.
Christ paid our ransom, he died for me, changed where I live. This too I know full well. :) Well, maybe not always full well, but it's a knowledge I hold to as best I can. :)
Questions from the book
I just have to wonder how he fits it all in. As a Pastor Paul has tons of responsibilities, all sorts of people to pray for, people to teach and talk to and so forth. He was also subject to imprisonment. How does one pray continuously? Seriously.. how does one do it? It seems so unattainable to me.
BUT it does show the serious level on concern that Paul has and his absolute devotion and dependance upon God. Paul can't change people, GOD can. I can't change people, GOD can. God is the one who can make things go the way they should. So praying more benefits everyone. Teaches ME more reliance on God and leaves everything where it should be.... in God's hands.
This for me is a higher call to pray more, think less, and to focus on what I should be focusing on... GOD and him alone.
2. What is the first thing Paul asks God to give these Christians and how do you think God would provide what he is requesting?
That the Colossian people be filled with the knowledge of God's will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.
How would God do this? How would he provide this to the Colossians?
I don't know. I can't know how God will do it. All I can know is that he will. He could use Paul as a teacher, he could fill them with a deep desire to know him more fully, he could infuse his knowledge into their brains... God could help the Colossian people know him more in a whole variety of ways.
I think that sometimes I get hung up on the word continuously...To me it means ALL THE TIME, but I got to thinking about how when people have a crisis they will pray and pray and pray about it, and then when it is over, they will have something else they can pray about. So it's not like every waking minute is spent in prayer for say the Colossian people, but more that the readiness is there to pray.
3. It would be tempting to see "being filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding' as a very private and personal thing. How does Paul make it clear that it is actually something with a very public face?
Because he makes it very practical....being filled with spiritual wisdom and understanding helps us to live our Christian lives in a way pleasing to him. For as it is written "so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord".
4. What do we learn, about ourselves as much as about the Colossians, from the fact that Paul uses present continuous tenses in this verse?
Means that it is a here and now, that it is something they could at that time, and we can do in the present.
5. Where does Paul say that the strength not just to live the Christian life, but to keep on going comes from?
From God's glorious might.
6. Why is it significant that Paul refers to 'patience', 'joy' and thankfulness as he prays for this church's progress in the life of faith?
I don't know. Probably because we are often impatient to "get there". That we have an end goal in sight in just want to reach it, but living the way God wants us to is continued work, continued effort and there are a mirade of things to distract us from our goal and so Paul wants us to be encouraged and to remain patient, because we will reach our goal if we keep striving for it.
7. How is what God has promised in the future for his people linked to what he has done in the past through his Son? What difference should that make as we try to live as Christians?
Because without the work of Christ there is no redemption of sin, and with no redemption of sin, there is no forgiveness with God. We need to keep this as a central focus in our lives.
8. What does Paul mean by the word 'redemption' and what is it so important to the way we understand what it means to be a Christian?
Redemption is the forgiveness of sins. It means that the price has been paid for us. We need to remember this you know, I NEED to remember this. Christ died for me, for all the things I have done, said, not done, thought about doing, and everything. Christ died for me. He paid the price that rightfully was mine. This is why I live, this is why I turn to God for help, because he has already supplied the most help I'll ever need. Everything else is secondary to that help already given.