We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better (Colossians 1:9b-10, NLT).
Paul has not met the believers of Colossae. He knows of them through Epaphras’s report (v.7,8). Yet Paul is praying for them and has been praying for them since he learned of their faith (v.9). He thanks God for them (v.3) and prays for them to be filled with joy and thankfulness (v.11,12). The knowledgeable apostle could have made any number of requests, but he focuses on three: complete knowledge of God’s will and spiritual wisdom and understanding.
I frequently find myself tempted to comment on other believers’ lives, especially those with whom I am not personally acquainted. I rationalize it by telling myself that they will never know. Yet Paul who was “chosen by the will of God to be an apostle” (v.1) does not criticize; he prays. He prays for the believers’ complete knowledge, spiritual wisdom, and understanding. That prayer brings about lives pleasing to the Lord, something my criticism could never produce. The next time I am tempted to pass judgment, I want to pray Paul’s simple prayer for others and for me.
Father, forgive me for wasting opportunities to pray for others. Fill me with thankfulness for their presence in the body and for the gifts that they bring. Fill us all with wisdom and understanding that we may grow together to know you better and better and be fruitful servants of your Son. In whose name we pray, Amen.