A Different Kind of Prayer

My brother is ill.

Well, that’s putting it mildly. He almost died from an infection-gone-septic a few months ago. A surgery ensued that rendered him bedfast for several months. Now, another possible surgery looms in the near future – along with several more months of being stuck in bed.

Practical matters also weigh in. What about his job? His mortgage?

When I look at Paul’s prayer for the Colossian people, I notice something is strangely absent. Paul doesn’t pray for his own release from prison. Neither does he pray for his own physical healing or financial prosperity.

He prays for others.

However, he doesn’t pray for their physical healing or financial prosperity either. Perhaps he prayed for these things in his private prayers, but in his public prayer for the Colossians, he prays and asks God to fill them with “the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding” (Colossians 1:9).

Knowledge. Wisdom. Understanding.

The enemy of our souls attacks the mind (II Corinthians 4:4). Therefore, the first thing Paul prays for is spiritual wisdom, and he repeats this same prayer for the Ephesians:

“May [God] give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened” (Ephesians 1:17,18).

For the Philippians, Paul offers more of the same:

“This is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best” (Philippians 1:9,10).

Knowledge. Wisdom. Understanding.

There’s a theme here. If his prayers are any indication, then Paul considers spiritual wisdom and understanding to be paramount.

Why? What is it about having spiritual eyes that is so important?

Paul says that spiritual wisdom empowers each believer to “live a life worthy of the Lord” (Colossians 1:10).

This is evident in four ways. With spiritual wisdom, believers can:

1. Bear fruit in every good work
2. Grow in our knowledge of God.
3. Become strengthened with all power.
4. Give thanks. (Colossians 1:10-12)

But what about a healthy body and a secure job?

It’s not as if Paul never prayed for personal healing. In II Corinthians 12:8, Paul admits that he prayed three times for a “thorn in his flesh” to be removed.

God answered this prayer – not by removing the thorn – but by exclaiming that his grace is sufficient.

His grace is sufficient.

This is one of those verses that sounds so eloquent; moreover, something within us resonates its truth. But our minds reel against it with the facts of real life. How, exactly, is his grace sufficient for those who suffer in ways the rest of us can only imagine?

There are no easy answers.

There is only trust – only faith – that his grace is sufficient despite all visible evidence to the contrary.

And all visible evidence is to the contrary.

Perhaps this is why Paul prayed and prayed and prayed for spiritual eyes to be opened.

* * * * *

So, today, I am praying for spiritual wisdom and understanding, personalizing the words of Paul by turning the second-person pronouns into the first-person.

God, fill me with the knowledge of your will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And I pray this in order that I may live a life worthy of You and may please You in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of You, being strengthened with all power according to your glorious might so that I may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to You, who has qualified me to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. (Colossians 1:9-12)

Are you in a situation that seems beyond the sufficiency of his grace?
Will you pray this prayer with me?
  

4 thoughts on “A Different Kind of Prayer

  1. It will be a privilege to pray for your bother's well being. God has already blessed him because he has you for a sister.

    Wonderful lesson in this post.

    Kat LaMantia
    Anchorage

  2. YES! This is the very thing we gathered to talk about this morning in my Sunday School class. We highlighted Ephesians 1:17 “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.”

    We also talked about “always wrestling” and “have not stopped praying for you” and laboring, struggling in prayer for one another and {GODS WILL}.
    I love when God speaks to His people broadly, that we are being moved in unison! Praying with you!
    ~Love,
    Kathy

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