And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 

In this passage, Paul uses two verbs somewhat synonymously, “praying” and “asking,” to help describe his appeals on the behalf of the. Colossians. The word “pray is a general word that Pau uses a lot in his epistles to convey his concern for his readers. The word asking,” gives more insight on Paul’s ministry among them.  He’s praying that they will use what God has bestowed on them, and their love for Him and others to help them grow in their faith.

God’s Will Has Been Disclosed (Col. 1:9). According to God’s Word, Christians can know His will toward us.  God desires that we experience all He has for us. The Word of God is His “love-letter” to us. Since His will is disclosed, we should make every effort to learn it and to implement said will in our everyday lives for the Risen Lord. We must be always a discerning people. His will is outlined in Scripture so that we can enjoy the satisfying pleasures of knowing Him and fully experiencing His will in our lives.

These steps are clearly prescribed in Scripture. At least five times in the New Testament God’s will is explicitly stated.

  1. In 1 Timothy 2:3-4, the Bible teaches us that it’s God’s will that we be saved.
  2. Scripture also affirms that it’s God will for us to be sanctified (1 Thess. 4:3). We must be “set apart,” and made holy.
  3. The Bible makes it clear that it’s God’s will that we be Spirit-filled. Every Christian, according to Acts 2:38, receives after their baptism for the remission of sins, forgiveness, and the Gift of the Holy Spirit. Also, Paul tells the Romans that unless we have the Spirit, we’re not Christians.
  4. It’s also God’s will for us to stand. What does that mean? We must be found, in opposition to the “world,” standing for Jesus (1 Cor. 15:58). We must also stand for the Truth (Jude 3)
  5. Also, it is God’s will for us to suffer. (1 Peter 4:19). Paul told Timothy in 2 Tim. 3:12: Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,” When we live according to God’s will, persecution and suffering for the Name will occur.

God’s Will Must Be Discerned (Col. 1:9) Paul prayed that the Colossians be “filled” with knowledge. Every Christian must pray for this. To know what God’s will is, we must be a people of the Book. We must desire to know more about the Word of God daily so that we may live in the word and apply it’s teaching in our spiritual pilgrimage.

There are other significant aspects of Paul’s prayer regarding God’s will and our discernment that are very important in our spiritual growth.

  • First, it is a passive knowledge, “that you may be filled,” indicates we must rely on the Lord to grant this knowledge.
  • Secondly, God’s will is spiritual in nature. Only Christians who have the indwelt Holy Spirit can recognize and discern this Truth.
  • Thirdly, the wisdom from above is distinct from worldly understanding (James 3:13-18).

Paul wanted the Colossians to be able to discern the will of God.  God wishes that for 21st Century Christians also. Let’s always strive to study God’s Word and apply the teaching in our everyday lives as we seek to “grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus.” (2 Peter 3:18).


Larry Miles is Co-Editor of Word & Work and attends Cherry St. Church of Christ in New Albany, IN.