VERSES 9-11:  Essence of Prayer’s Request

“For this cause we also, since the day we heard (it), do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.”`


“For this cause”
Literally:  “Because of this”–Since the day we heard  it, we do not cease to pray for you, and desire that you might be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.

Not merely for their love to Paul, s; but because of their faith in Christ, their love to all the saints, and the good hope they had of eternal happiness; and because they had heard the Gospel, and truly knew it, and sincerely professed it: therefore,

“we also do not cease to pray for you”
Literally: “we do not cease praying on your behalf”–Paul here says that he has not ceased to pray for the Colossian believers since he heard of their spiritual state. 

                        WE:  (Grk.–hēmeis)–Referring to both Paul and Timothy.          

It is a very precious thing to hear the prayers of a saint of God for friends, and this is what we hear in this passage.  In prayer, we are not so much trying to make God listen to us, as it is to make ourselves listen to Him.  We are not trying to persuade God to do what we want, but to find out what He wants of us.  The progress which they had already made, and the love which they had shown, constituted an encouragement for prayer, and a reason why higher blessings still should be sought. We always feel stimulated and encouraged to pray for those who are doing well.


1.      The Prayer Was ConstantWe do not cease to pray”
This shows that the apostles prayed without ceasing; not that they were every moment praying, without intermission, but that they were frequent and constant every day at the throne of grace; and as often as they were there, they were mindful of these Colossians, even ever since they heard of their reception of the Gospel, of their profession of it, and of the fruit it brought forth in them; and in their petitions “prayed” and “desired,” earnestly and importunately entreated God on their behalf.
2.       The Prayer Was Intercessory “for you”
         James  charged believers to pray for each other (James 5:16).
3.      The Prayer Was for a Specific Aim– that ye might be filled with the knowledge of His will”

“to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of His will”
Literally:  “and asking that you may be filled {with} the full knowledge of His will”–-The Colossians had
knowledge, but they needed to have more than that. 

That you might be filled with the knowledge of His will.  They had shown, by their faith and love, that they were disposed to do His will, and Paul now prays that they might be fully acquainted with what He would have them do.  He offered a similar prayer in behalf of the Ephesians. See the parallel place in Eph. 1:17-19–

    “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the father of glory, may give unto you the spirit, wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him”
    The eyes of your understanding being englightened; that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints”

    “And what {is} the exceeding greatness of His power to usward, who believe, according to the working of His mighty power” (Eph. 1:17-19).                 

    TO DESIRE:  (Grk.–aitoumenoi)–This Greek verb originally meant, “to want or to demand something of one’s share,”  But this attitude can never be applied to the approach of a believing sinner to his Creator.  No Christian can ever demand that God do something; however, God has asked His children to make requests of Him (Matt. 7:8).  The Christian can ask of things that he needs, if he does this asking in the right way.

    KNOWLEDGE:  (Grk.–epignōsin)–This seems to be the key thought of this prayer (vv. 9-10), and in this respect it closely resembles the prayer in Eph. 1:17-19. REMEMBER:  The end of all knowledge is conduct; i.e., what you do with what you know.

Their precarious condition is the reason why Paul is not content to simply say that he is praying for these people.
1.      He wants them to know what he is praying for. 

2.    He wants to impress upon them the character and importance of true knowledge before drawing their attention to the dangers of that “knowledge so called” (theosophical gnosis) such as affected by the teachers who were leading them astray.

“in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.”
Literally:  “in all wisdom and spiritual understanding”–That you may be truly wise in all things (Eph. 1:17). In understanding those things that pertain to the “Spirit;” that is, those things taught by the Holy Spirit, and those which He produces in the work of salvation (I Cor.  2:12-13; comp. I John 2:20; 5:20)

            WISDOM:  (Grk.–sophia)–This is referring to spiritual wisdom–practical knowledge that comes from God.  This word is used six times in this epistle (v. 9, 28; 2:3, 23; 3:16: 4:5).

    SPIRITUAL UNDERSTANDING: (Grk.–sunesei pneumatikēi)–This Spiritual understanding is needed to separate truth from error.  Sunesei is also used in 2:2 which speaks of clear analysis and decision making in applying this knowledge to problems.

            False teaching may have an appearance of wisdom, and yet be contrary to divine revelation.  It is especially at the focal point of the cross that human and divine wisdom show their great divergence (I Cor. 1:23-24).  Truth is not known in intellect alone.
           This Greek word rendered as “understanding” (sunesei), the ancient Greek sometimes described as “critical knowledge,” meaning “the ability to apply first principles to any given situation which may arise in life.”  So when Paul prays that these Colossian believers may have wisdom and understanding, he is praying that they may understand the great truths of the Christian faith and may be able to apply them to the tasks and decisions which they meet in everyday living.

            This term, “understanding” occurs only twice in this epistle (v. 9; 2:2) and only five times elsewhere in the N.T. (Mark 12:33; Luke 2:47; I Cor. 1:19; Eph. 3:4; II Tim. 2:7).  This understanding may be defined as, “the application of this basic wisdom to the various problems which present themselves to us and require a clear analysis before a decision can be taken.”  It involves critical thinking about the complexities of living and a Spirit-guided solution which displays Biblical content.  Such wisdom and understand will always display genuine humility and a greater love and glorification of God.          


It is possible to be an expert in theology and a failure in living; to be able to write and talk about the eternal truths and yet be helpless in applying them to the things that meet us every day.

“That you might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.”

“That you might walk worthy of the Lord”
Literally: “For you to walk worthy of the Lord”–Suitably to your Christian profession, exemplifying its holy doctrines by a holy and useful life. That you may live as becomes the followers of the Lord. How this was to be done Paul states in this and the following verses.

A problem in the church today is that far too many Christians “talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk,” (to use our modern vernacular).  They like to talk it up, but don’t live it out.  Walking implies both direction  and progress:  knowing the will of God and increasing in the performance of it. Walking–service, is a common expression of Paul’s…
1.      Walk worthy of our vocation (Eph.4:1)

2.      Walk worthy of the gospel (Phil. 1:27
3.       Walk worthy of God (I Thess. 2:12)

“unto all pleasing,”
Literally: “to all pleasing”–So as to please Him in all thing, (comp. Heb. 11:5). Doing everything in the best manner, in the most proper time, and in a becoming spirit. Even a good work may be marred and rendered fruitless by being done improperly, out of season, or in a temper of mind that grieves the Holy Spirit.

This combination of walking and pleasing brings to mind the case of Enoch, the man who walked with God and who, before being taken to be with Him, was attested as being pleasing to Him (Heb. 11:5).

    PLEASING:  (Grk.–areskeian)–This Greek word, in the classical Greek literally means, “a cringing and subservient habit, ready to do or say anything to please a patron.”  It is used only here in the N.T.

The spiritual essence of this word can be demonstrated in the desire of the Christian to please God in everything.  This is not only the right thing to do, but it also brings fulfillment and personal satisfaction to the child of God.  Believers please God when they complete their obligations to God (cf. I Cor. 7:32; I Thess. 2:4; 4:1; II Tim. 2:4), to family (I Cor. 7:33-34) and to others (Rom. 15:2; I Cor. 10:33).  By doing this they are following the selfless example of Christ (Rom. 15:3).         

            “being fruitful in every good work,”
           Literally:  “bearing fruit in every good work”—Paul exhorts the Christians at Colosse,

1.      To walk:  to be active in their Christian calling.
2.      To walk worthily:  suitably to the dignity of that calling, and to the purity of that God Who had called them into this state of salvation.

3.      To do everything unto all pleasing; that God might be pleased with the manner, the time, the motive, disposition, design, and object of every act.
4.      That they should be fruitful; mere harmlessness would not be sufficient; as God had sown good seed, he expected good fruit.
5.      That every work should be good; they must not be fruitful in some works and fruitless in others.
6.      That they should increase in religious knowledge as time rolled on, knowing, by genuine Christian experience, more of God, of his love, and of his peace, day by day.          

Bearing fruit is a Christian’s responsibility. This is one way in which we are to walk, those who desire to understand what He is; what He does; what He purposes; what He commands. Hence He not only commands us to study His works, (comp. Psalms 111:2,) but He has made a world so worthy of the Lord, and so as to please Him (John 15:8).   

“In every good work,”- Everything in the believer’s life is spiritual or sacred.  There is no secular.  The world likes to divide everything into two categories:  sacred and secular.  But this is not true in the believer’s life:  for him, everything is sacred because he, and everything in him has been bought by Christ (I Cor. 6:20).                        

“increasing in the knowledge of God.”
Literally:  “growing into the full knowledge of God”–This is by endeavoring to become better acquainted with God and His true character.  This is another way in which we may walk worthy of the Lord, and so as to please Him.  To know Him more is to love Him more; and  as you love Him more, you please Him more.

God delights in those who are sincerely desirous of knowing what He is, what He purposes; what He commands and who inquire with humility and reverence into His counsels and His will. Men are often displeased when others attempt to look into their plans, for they know that they will not bear the light of investigation. This is not true of God, for He has no plans which would not be seen to be, in the highest degree, glorious to Him.

    INCREASING:  (Grk.–auxanomenoi)–This Greek participle denotes constant growth.  One expositor has described that the verb form “depicts a fruit tree which yields its fruit and keeps on growing, in contrast to grain which produces its harvest and then dies.”  The believer must continue to grow in grace (II Pet. 3:19–same verb).  His capacity for the God must grow larger. 

    “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor siteth in the seat of the scornful”
    “But his delight is in the Law of the LORD, and in His Law doth he meditate day and night”

    “And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf shall not wither, and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper” (Psa. 1:1-3).

“Strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, unto all patience and long-suffering with joyfulness.”

“Strengthened with all might,”
Literally:  “Being empowered with all power”—That they might be able to walk worthy of the Lord, bring forth fruit, etc.

        This was also an object of Paul's earnest prayer. He desired that they might be strengthened for the performance of duty; to meet temptations; and to bear up under the various trials of life. Just as there is need of wisdom for the Christian walk, there is also the need of power for the endurance of the believer in situation which call for more than human resources can supply.

          We do not pray in order to escape life, but in order to be better able to meet it; and to do this, we need power. Therefore, Paul prays that the Colossian believers be strengthened with the power of God.  The great problem in life is not to know what to do, but having the ability, or power, to do it.  For the most part, we are aware in a given situation what we ought to do; our problem is to put that knowledge into action.  Never forget that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead rests in us–i.e., the Holy Spirit.  To use this, we need power, and that is what we receive in prayer.

STRENGTHEN:  (Grk.–dynamoumenoi)—This Greek word is used only here in the N.T., but is also used in the LXX. 

“according to His glorious power,”
Literally:  “according to the might of His glory”—According to that sufficiency of strength which may be expected from Him who has all power both in the heavens and in the earth. Not by any human –means, but by the power of God. Rather,  "according to the power” (the characteristic of “His glory,” here appropriate to Paul's argument, Eph. 1:19; 6:10; as its exuberant ‘riches,’ in Eph. 3:16) of His glory. His power is inseparable from His glory (Rom. 6:4).

GLORIOUS:   (Grk.–doxēs)–Glorious is what God is, and the glory of God is the outward expression of Who He is.

          POWER:  (Grk.–kratos)–This is an old word for perfect strength.  In the N.T. it is applied only to God. Here His might is accompanied by glory (Shekinah).   Eleven of the times it is used in the N.T refers to God

            There is a manifestation of power in the spirit with which Christians are enabled to bear up under trals, which shows that it is not of human origin. It is the power which God gives them in the day of trial. This power is “glorious,” or, as it is in the Greek, it is the “power of His glory.” It is manifestly the power of the great and glorious God, and it tends to promote his glory, and to show forth his praise.

            Power belongs to God; is a perfection of His nature, and has been, and is gloriously displayed in many things; as,
1.      In the creation of the heavens and the earth;
2.      In the upholding of all things in their being; in the redemption and salvation of sinners; in their faith and conversion;
3.      In supporting the saints under various trials and exercises; and,
4.      In the safe keeping of them through faith unto salvation:
         From this glorious power of God saints may hope to be supplied with all might,
         a.      Or a sufficient supply of strength for every service, and for every difficulty;
         b.     As also from the grace that is in Christ, who has strength as well as righteousness for His people, Who is the glorious power and arm of the Lord, without Whom they can do neither nor bear anything.

unto all patience and long-suffering”
Literally:  “To all patience and longsuffering”—Relieving, hoping, and enduring all things. So that you may be enabled to bear all your trials without murmuring. It is only the power of God that can enable us to do that. 

        PATIENCE:  (Grk.–hypomanonen)—Patience is steadfastness and stout heartedness under ill fortune (not a mere resigned patience); endurance under trials.

This does not mean the sense of simply bowing our heads and letting the tide of events flow over us.  It does mean not only the ability to bear things but the ability, in bearing them, to turn them into glory.  It is a conquering patience. Bearing up under trials; refusing to buckle under the pressure. It is the ability to deal triumphantly with anything that life can do to us.  

Unto all patience—so as to attain to all patient endurance; persevering, enduring continuance in the faith, in spite of trials of persecutors, and seductions of false teachers.

 LONGSUFFERING: (Grk.–makrothumian)—Longsuffering is gentleness of temper and magnanimity under ill treatment (comp. 3:12).

1.      To be slow to anger, and not easily provoked to wrath;
2.      To be ready to forgive injuries; and,
3.      To bear long, and with patience, all reproaches and persecutions for the sake of Christ, and his Gospel; all which require daily fresh supplies of grace and strength, especially to endure all.

This is basically patience with people.  It is the quality of mind and heart which enables us to cope with people in such a way that their unpleasantness, or malice, or cruelty will never drive us to bitterness; that their unwillingness to learn will never drive us to despair; that their folly will never drive us to irritation ; and that their unloveliness with never change our own love.

“with joyfulness
Literally: “with joy”–Feeling the continual testimony that you please God, which will be of continual comfort.  Endurance and longsuffering are tremendous assets; but when they are accompanied by joyfulness, they reveal their
supernatural character. 

It is the life of Christ lived over again in His people that comes shining through (cf. Heb. 12:2).  The Christian way is not a grim struggle with events and with people; on the contrary, it is a radiant and sunny-hearted attitude to life.  The Christian joy is joy in any circumstance. C.F.D. Moule once said, “If joy is not rooted in the soil of suffering, it is shallow.” It is easy to be joyful when things go well; but Christian radiance is something which all the shadows of life can never quench.