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Prayer: wisdom for lives worthy of the Lord

May 9, 2023

Daily Scripture

Colossians 1:9-14

9 Because of this, since the day we heard about you, we haven’t stopped praying for you and asking for you to be filled with the knowledge of God’s will, with all wisdom and spiritual understanding. 10 We’re praying this so that you can live lives that are worthy of the Lord and pleasing to him in every way: by producing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God; 11 by being strengthened through his glorious might so that you endure everything and have patience; 12 and by giving thanks with joy to the Father. He made it so you could take part in the inheritance, in light granted to God’s holy people. 13 He rescued us from the control of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son he loves. 14 He set us free through the Son and forgave our sins.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

The apostle Paul prayed fervently for believers in Colossae to “be filled with the knowledge of God’s will.” He gave them a model of one key to understanding God’s will. Paul’s prayer also clearly sketched what living out God’s will looks like in real lives: “by producing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God; by being strengthened through his glorious might so that you endure everything and have patience; and by giving thanks with joy to the Father.”

  • Scholar William Barclay wrote, “Wisdom is sophia… knowledge of first principles. Spiritual understanding is sunesis, which the Greeks described as… the ability to apply first principles to any situation which may arise in life. So Paul is praying that his friends may understand the great truths of Christianity and… apply them to the tasks and decisions which meet them in everyday living.” How did Paul’s prayer for deep knowledge of God’s will differ from praying, “God, show me which job offer (or other specific option) to accept”?
  • Paul’s prayer for Christians to know God’s will dealt with the big picture, not lots of specific details. “Producing fruit” (verse 10) pictured a new, wholly different lifestyle. In what ways do many of your specific choices grow out of your larger decisions about lifestyle? In what ways will a lifestyle shaped by God’s will create a different life from one built solely around pleasing yourself?

Dear Jesus, this day I come to you, “asking that I be filled with the knowledge of God’s will, with all wisdom and spiritual understanding.” May my thoughts, words and actions all be consistent with your will. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of Denise Mersmann

Denise Mersmann

Denise Mersmann serves as the Care Coordination Director for the churchwide Care Central department at Church of the Resurrection.

When our son, Ryan, was in elementary school, he went with a friend to a program where they learned Scripture. Well, they memorized Scripture. The program was set up where through games and activities the kids memorized verses and where they were in the Bible.

Ryan did a great job memorizing and could tell you the chapter and verse with just a few words out of the text. One day I asked him something about the Scripture he had just memorized. He looked at me like I had sprouted horns and said, “I have no idea what it means, I just need to memorize it!”  Not considering that my little angel might not have been listening when the meaning of that Scripture was explained, I questioned him about a couple other verses he had recently learned only to discover that the meaning behind those was lost on him as well.

My husband and I talked about it and questioned if it was maybe asking too much for a kid Ry’s age to take the Biblical words they learned and make the connection to their lives.

A few weeks after this conversation, Ryan showed us how well he could indeed make that leap between the words he learned and his everyday life.

Ryan and I were driving to dinner listening to the last few minutes of the K-State football game. (We had reservations, or we would never have left before it was over!) As we were listening, K-State quarterback Collin Klein handed the ball off to the running back and then stepped up and threw a huge block that allowed his teammate to get into the end zone. As the announcers gushed about the play, they marveled about how Collin could have been injured, his Heisman trophy run could have ended if he had gotten hurt, but that he still made the block.

As they continued to talk about the play, I said, “Greater love has no one than to lay down their life for a friend.” Ryan immediately asked me to repeat what I had said and wanted to know where it came from. I told him it was a Bible verse and he immediately looked it up on his phone.

We went to dinner and throughout our meal, conversation centered around what that text meant and did that have any application in his life. After talking through the literal wording, Ryan began to consider what that might look like for a grade school kid. Did this mean stepping in front of a bully to protect a smaller kid who was being picked on? Was this somehow telling him to get outside of his comfort zone to care for someone else? Was it possible that this Scripture was a reminder to care more for others than you care about yourself?

Suddenly, the words he had memorized became more than words. Ryan began to see Scripture as very personal. These were not cryptic messages to people years ago, but guidelines for hm to follow, goals to strive for, and direction on how to live the life God called him to live.

My memories of that night are so vivid – we had so much fun. And as I look back on that night, several things still stand out. First, as a grade school kid my son was more than ready to find out how to apply the Bible to his everyday life. Second, those lessons from childhood stick with our kids for life. And finally, having dinner one-on-one with my son is truly one of the greatest joys of my life.

The words are there for us. To teach us, comfort us, encourage us, and help us set boundaries. But when we take those words and truly find ways to fit them into our lives, that’s when our lives begin to truly change for the better.

Oh, and K-State won that game – so it was truly a perfect night!

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* William Barclay, The Letters to the Philippians, Colossians and Thessalonians (Revised Edition). Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1975, p. 108.