Let’s begin part 2 of 2 by looking at how Paul prayed for the Colossian saints:
9 “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;
10 “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;” (Col. 1:9-10).
He then continued in prayer that these saints would be “filled with the knowledge of His will” and the result would be that they would be “strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy [powerful!]” (Col. 1:11).
“Patience” here speaks of endurance and perseverance in the face of life’s circumstances, while “longsuffering” speaks of having a “long fuse” on our tempers when faced with unpleasant people and surroundings. And Paul instructs us to do this all with “joy.” God doesn’t promise to take away all our problems, or to answer all our prayers (remember, we don’t even know what to ask for). Instead, He promises to give us the grace and strength that we’ll need to overcome and to do it all with joy.
That is God’s picture of being “strengthened with all might according to His glorious power.” That is real power, and the Lord Jesus says to us today, “My grace is sufficient for you wherever you are, and whatever your problems may be, I’m working it all together for good, and My power is being made perfect. It reaches its greatest expression and demonstration when you are weak, but miraculously, you find that by faith you are `strengthened with all might…for patience and longsuffering with joy.’”
Paul never forgot the lesson that the Lord taught him from his “thorn prayer.” Many years later and from a prison cell, Paul would write to the Philippians:
11 “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content:
12 “I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:11-13).
Paul says that he has learned the secret of contentment, he knows how to abound [to have much], and also how to be abased [to have little]. So Paul writes that everywhere and in all things he has learned how to live, and how to live with joy. And the secret? “I can do all things through Christ who [constantly, daily] strengthens me.” We can almost hear those words from years before still ringing in Paul’s heart, “My strength is made perfect in your weakness” as Paul writes, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Should we pray today? Of course! Listen to Paul encouraging the saints to pray:
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thes. 5:16-18).
But we can only rejoice and give thanks always when we understand what the Lord is doing in the dispensation of grace and in our lives today. God’s people are destroyed when they are told that God’s plan is to fix all their problems. The Lord never said made this declaration to the Apostle Paul for us in the dispensation of grace. There can only come disappointment, discouragement, and spiritual ruin when we claim a promise that God never made to us [Replacement Theology]. But what joy and what freedom there is when we begin to learn to hear the Lord’s promises for us today in this wonderful time called the “dispensation of the grace of God!”
“If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward” (Eph 3:2)