While reading Colossians 1:9-14, I was struck by the prayer the Apostle Paul prayed for the people of Colosse. He prayed that God would fill the people of Colosse with the knowledge of God's will through the wisdom and understanding that the Holy Spirit gives (Colossians 1:9). Why did Paul pray for that in particular? He answers that in the rest of the verse. So that they may live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way. By asking God to fill the people of Colosse with the knowledge of His will, Paul is asking for them to grow in their faith. And how do Christians grow? Through the wisdom and understanding the Holy Spirit gives through God's Holy Word. As we read it, the Holy Spirit opens our eyes, ears, and hearts to its message, and we grow in the knowledge of God's will.
Read Ephesians 1:15-23
I don't know about you, but I have had many times in my life when I have asked God for wisdom. To be able to know the "right" decision to make in a situation, or how to approach someone with the right words that won't leave them angry or offended. But have you ever noticed what Paul prayed for in regards to the people of Ephesus? After assuring them of the many blessings they had in Christ, he followed that up with how he prayed for them and it is an example we can all take to heart.
So what did Paul ask God for in regards to the Ephesians?
For the spirit of wisdom and revelation (Ephesians 1:17). But notice that Paul didn't ask they be given wisdom in dealing with all things, like financial wisdom or parenting tips, for example. Instead, he asked that God give them wisdom and revelation about God in particular.
That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him (Ephesians 1:17)
The word for "knowledge" in Greek is epignōsis and means "precise and correct knowledge", so Paul is asking the Lord to help the Ephesians know Him better. Notice also that he asks for revelation. The Greek word for "revelation" is apokalypsis and means "an unveiling, or uncovering, making naked or laying bare the truth". So by asking for the spirit of wisdom and revelation, Paul shows us the importance of knowing God intimately. And how do we know God? By abiding in His Word. From it we come to know God's character and His will for us.
For enlightenment. After asking for spiritual wisdom and revelation, Paul asks God that the Ephesian's minds would understand and be open to what they were learning. He asks that, "the eyes of your understanding being enlightened". He uses a metaphor to describe how spiritual wisdom and revelation work together to that moment when we realize a deep truth. We've all had these. Those moments when we have read a section of Scripture a hundred times and then we have an "aha" moment. Our eyes are opened, as it were, and we see a deep truth we've never seen before. Paul asks for this gift of understanding so that we may know three things:
Paul then affirms that God's powerful spirit of wisdom and revelation will work in us because it is the same power that "worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come" (Ephesians 1:19-21). It is the same power that put "all things under Christ's feet and which gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all" (Ephesians 1:22-23).
And so it comes full circle. Paul asks that God grant the Ephesians spiritual wisdom and revelation, along with understanding, for one reason, because the church complete who Jesus is, in that we are His body and His Holy Spirit fills us. Thus, as His representatives here on earth, by asking God for spiritual wisdom and understanding, we will be spiritually equipped to spread the Gospel, fulfilling His work in us as He fills us up.
Continuing on with Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, we now come to the most famous prayer in the Bible - The Lord's Prayer. Jesus has just explained that we are not to be like the hypocrites who make a great show of the fact they are praying to God (Matthew 6:5) and encourages us to pray to God privately. While there are many examples of how Jesus prayed (Matthew 26:39), when he prayed (Mark1:35), what he prayed about and whom he prayed for (John 17), the Lord's Prayer gives us a template for the correct way to approach God and what our prayers should look like.
Our Father in Heaven, Hallowed by Thy Name