In this verse we gain insight into how the Apostle Paul prayed for Christians, the great desires he had for believers in Christ. No doubt Paul wrestled in prayer for the practical needs of Christians, but his priority was their spiritually seeking after God, because in whatever condition he is in, if a Christian grows in his knowledge and love of God, he is doing well.

In verse 9, Paul begins with “And so…” referencing his great joy in hearing that the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ had come to Colossae,  that these souls had heard and come to Christ, and that faith, love, and hope was being manifested in the church there. He wants them to know how he has been praying for them since he heard.

Paul says, “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.” By being “filled with the knowledge of his will,” Paul does not mean God’s special direction for your life in such things as vocation, choice of spouse, where to live, and so forth. Those things are important, but not as important as what Paul means.

He prays Christians will be filled with the big picture of God’s will; that there is such a thing as the gospel in this world, and peace with God, life with God, joy in fellowship with God, that knowledge of God is theirs in Christ. Christ is at the center of knowing God’s will. All the Scriptures of the Old Testament pointed to Christ’s coming in order to destroy the works of the devil. 

This is because it is God’s purpose, his plan. History is headed somewhere, and God will bring unity to all things in heaven and earth under Christ. There is evil and death in this world, but God has revealed a salvation in Christ that He declares will bring eternal life and joy to all who come to him. To be filled with this knowledge of God’s will is to judge everything in the light of Christ.

Paul says this knowledge is connected to spiritual wisdom and understanding. It is wisdom because it points to an incorruptible inheritance to all in Christ, while certain judgment for all those outside of Christ. Heaven and hell are realities.  Men mock these things as if they were flat earth theories, and so store up wrath that comes on all who do not know God.

It isn’t that people just miss out on heaven by a technicality of some sort. They resist God in their wills though He reveals himself in creation, their own conscience, and in Christ. God will bring everything to light; He knows every thought, motive, deeds of men. There is no hope or future in resisting God, but men do it and we need spiritual wisdom and understanding not to do it.

Spiritual wisdom and understanding also instructs us that men are not saved by just believing Christ died for their sins and was raised from the dead. We are saved by coming to Christ. “Come unto me” the Lord Jesus said. In him we receive forgiveness of sins and righteousness before God. In him we look forward to the resurrection. In him we are reconciled to God. In him we have an incorruptible inheritance. We must come to Christ, come to know him.

John Knox, the Scottish Christian leader, when he knew he didn’t have long to live, wrote to a friend: “If you learn to know Christ it is enough, even if you are ignorant of other things. If you learn to know other things, it is nothing, if you are ignorant of Christ. The only deliverance is to know him; other things are deception.”

Christ came to fulfill the will of God. He said in John 6, “I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of the one who sent me.” He is gentle and merciful. He came to save sinners. We are saved from sin by grace. We have no merit of our own. Yet it was God’s will to accept all who come to Christ.  The more we see Christ, the more we are filled with the knowledge of God’s will.

It is important we learn to pray as Paul prayed; that we might be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, and that we become like Christ in our purpose to know and do the will of God.