Read Colossians 1:9-14
A very common question from followers of Jesus is “What is the will of God for my life?” This issue arises when we are faced with choices, like what college to attend, which of two jobs to take, or whether to go to the next level in a dating relationship with Sam or Peter. We also ask it when we approach a difficult situation, such as whether to stay in a hard job or retire, how to deal with an aging parent or a “challenging” teenager, or how to handle a health crisis. Then there is the daily concern that God would guide our steps so that we would walk in his will and not fall into an activity or behavior that is out of his will. “What is the will of God for my life?” Every believer wants to know the answer to that question.
But I would suggest that in the context of praying for one another over the long haul, this is the wrong question. Certainly it is appropriate to pray for one another to know the will of God in every circumstance they face, but I would suggest that this is not practical, maybe not even appropriate. I face dozens of situations that are too personal to discuss, even with my closest confidants. Yet, I sill desire that people pray for me. The right question is this. “What is the will of God?” I hope you see the difference. Asking about the will of God for our lives enters the arena of personal and specific details. Certainly, God is concerned about every detail of our lives, including the number of hairs on our heads. But to keep abreast with everyone on our prayer list with this degree of specifics is overwhelming. Therefore, I would suggest that there is a better way to pray for one another over the long haul, and Paul tells us in this passage.
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, (Col 1:9 NIV)
Here we have it. Paul prays that the Colossians, a people he has never met, will be filled with the knowledge of the will of God. Then he explains his understanding of what that means. Paul prays for his readers to be filled with the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives. He doesn’t have to know any of the specific or personal details, yet his prayer is profoundly personal. I can pray for you, and partner with you as you trust God for all the intimate details of your life, without knowing any of the specifics. I can pray that the Spirit will give you wisdom and understanding in all of your circumstances, and I can ask you to pray the same way for me.
Now this may seem quite general and even impersonal. However, as we will see in a following post, it is quite personal and it nurtures a significant relationship with one another. Stay tuned.