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encouragement from steve wise

Monday, January 02 2023

New Year’s Prayer

“For this reason we also, since the day we heard about it, have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all perseverance and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.”

- Colossians 1:9-12 

What would you want someone to pray for your children or the people you love most? Would it be safety, success, happiness, health? The passage above is Paul’s prayer for the followers of Jesus in Colosse. The content and depth of this prayer serve as a model of prayer for us as we enter 2023. 

Paul introduces the prayer with words of encouragement. He asks the Father to fill them with the knowledge of God’s will. This refers to personal and intimate knowledge gained by experience and through relationship. Knowing God’s will means loving what God loves, wanting what God wants, and doing what God does. He further defines this knowledge as wisdom and understanding – not only knowing the truth but being able to apply it to the tasks and decisions of life. 

A life worthy and pleasing to the Lord serves as the purpose of the prayer. In the following passage, Paul demonstrates our worth in writing of the Father’s love and good pleasure in reconciling the world to Himself through Christ’s death and resurrection. The worthy and pleasing life bears fruit both in our lives and relationships; increases our personal and relational knowledge of the Lord; and is strengthened with God’s power and might. This strength issues in perseverance or steadfastness in every circumstance; patience or longsuffering in any and every relationship; and joyful thanksgiving in every area of our lives. It concludes by reminding us of the reality of our new identity as children of God and heirs of all of God’s promises. 

The rest of Paul’s letter, the New Testament, Jesus’ teaching, and experience show this to be something we cannot do by ourselves but that God will not do without us. John Oman writes: “To deliver the soul from the sin which is its ruin and bestow on it the holiness which is its health and peace, is the end of all God’s dealings with His children; and precisely because He cannot merely impose, but must enable us to attain it ourselves, if we are really to have the liberty of His children, the way He must take is long and arduous.” [i]

In our Refresh event (January 6-8), John and Laura Crosby will introduce us to “Replenishing Rhythms in a Draining World.” We hope you will participate and experience God’s presence during this time. Our teaching series for the following 6 weeks will look at different practices that help us do our part in fulfilling this prayer. We will look at these practices through several Psalms - the ancient prayer book of Israel. I am eager to engage in this study together in hopes it will fill us with the knowledge of God’s will and help us know and love God more and better. I hope you will make it a point to join us in worship and engage in our small groups! 

Your friend, 

Steve Wise 

[i] – John Wood Oman, Grace and Personality, quoted in Hearing God, Dallas, Willard, pg. 253

Posted by: Steve AT 10:29 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
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