Prayer For A Worthy Walk
“For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;”
An Analysis of the Apostle’s Prayer
Before considering it in detail, let us first give a brief analysis of this prayer. (1) Its address: The majority of writers appear to regard this prayer as being one without an address, but this we consider a mistake. It is true that none is found at the beginning of verse 9, but that was not necessary since in verse 3 the apostle had said, ‘We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you.’ (2) Its supplicators: In contrast with the ‘I’ of Ephesians 1:15 and Philippians 1:9-10, this proceeded from a ‘we’ – Paul himself, Timothy (verse 1), Epaphras (verse 7) who was with him (Philemon 23), and possibly others. (3) Its occasion, or spring: ‘For this cause.’ Probably the saints at Colossae had sent their minister Epaphras to learn the apostle’s mind on certain matters, a summary of which is intimated in this prayer. Moreover, the knowledge of their ‘love in the Spirit’ for them (verse 8) had drawn out their affections, which were now expressed in fervent supplication for them. (4) Its petitions: Request was made that they might be intelligent Christians – pious, strong, and thankful ones.
The Breadth of Paul’s Request for the Saints
Once more we see the breadth or comprehensiveness of the requests which Paul was wont to make for the saints. The ‘large petitions’ which he spread before God were a marked feature of all his approaches to the throne of grace on behalf of God’s people, and it is one which we need to take to heart and emulate. For the saints at Rome he had prayed that God would fill them ‘with all joy and peace in believing’, that they might ‘abound in hope’ (15:13). For the Ephesians that they might be ‘filled with all the fullness of God’ (3:19). For the Philippians that ‘their love might abound more and more’; and that they might ‘be filled with the fruits of righteousness’ (1:9, 11). So Paul prayed here: that they might not merely have a knowledge of God’s will in wisdom but ‘be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom’. This was not a bare and general request that their conduct should adorn the gospel, but rather that they ‘might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work.’ How different is this large-heartedness of the apostle from that cramped spirit which is evident in much of our praying!