Prayer: To be FILLED with the KNOWLEDGE of HIS WILL
For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be FILLED with the KNOWLEDGE of HIS WILL in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
That you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.
Oh, how nice it would be if God gave us a “To-Do” list of His will for each day…
Or would it?
If we had such a “To-Do” list, we would no longer need to walk closely with God. We could move on ahead without Him and then hand Him our checked-off list at the end of the day. “Walk by faith and not by sight” (2 Cor 5:7) would no longer apply. In fact, faith and trust would no longer be necessary since we know what to do and we can do it ourselves…
Or would we?
The Old Covenant was like that. God originally wanted the people to hear and obey His voice, but when He spoke the Ten Commandments out loud for everyone to hear, the people changed their minds. They told Moses:
You go near and hear all that the Lord our God may say, and tell us all that the Lord our God says to you, and we will hear and do it.
Sad day that was! But God gave them their wish – 613 written laws. Did they obey like they said they would? Nope!
That “To-Do” list system did not work under the Old Covenant in Old Testament times, and it will not work for us (Rom 8:3).
However, through His shed Blood, Jesus became the Mediator of a “better covenant” built upon “better promises” (Heb 7:22; Heb 8:6; Heb 12:24; Heb 13:20) – not upon man’s promise to obey, but upon God’s promise to work in us “both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Phil 2:13).
In the New Covenant, God does not give us a “To-Do” list. Instead, He wants us to know Him, trust Him, and hear His voice. The “Promise of the Father” (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4-5; Acts 2:33-39) is the Holy Spirit who comes to dwell within the believer (Eze 36:26-27; Jer 31:31-34; Heb 8:10; Heb 10:16). The Holy Spirit is our Teacher to reveal more of Jesus to us and to be our Guide to direct us from the inside out (John 14:16-26; John 15:26; John 16:13-14). He is the “word behind [us]” – not necessarily an audible voice, but a word written inside us with transforming power working within us to attract, direct, and correct us:
…but your eyes shall see your Teacher. And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.
This is what Paul’s prayer for the Colossians is all about.
Being filled with the “knowledge” of His will is NOT about having multiple “To-Do” lists. In His prayer, Paul uses the word “knowledge” two times. The Greek compound word Paul uses is “epi + gnosis.” “Gnosis” means knowledge, as in head knowledge of facts. But the word, “epignosis” refers to the “true and exact relationship” knowledge, that is, knowing someone or something through personal relationship and interaction. Paul is praying that the Colossians would be “filled” with “epignosis” through an intimate and living relationship with God.
Imagine a college student taking a four-year course on computers, yet he has never seen or used a physical computer! He has “gnosis” knowledge from his bookwork about computers, but NOT “epignosis” relationship-knowledge. Upon finally sitting in front of a computer, this student would exclaim like Job:
I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear,
But now my eye sees You.
Man was not created to eat from the “Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.” Man was designed in God’s own image and likeness to eat of the “Tree of Life” – to experience God’s Life through moment-by-moment fellowship and hand-in-hand walking with God so that he might grow in the “epignosis” – relationship-knowledge – of God Himself and His purpose for man. This is why, in eternity, we see the Tree of Life in the Heavenly New Jerusalem (Rev 22:1-2).
Being “filled with the knowledge [epignosis] of the will of God in all wisdom and spiritual understanding” is NOT about having our hands filled with a bunch of “To-Do” lists. Instead, it is like an amazing, life-long scavenger hunt – discovering clues to find one location, which holds clues to find the next location, and so on. The journey has as much fun and excitement as in reaching the final destination! It all involves absolute surrender, trust, and faith – the faith that enables us to “walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful and increasing in the knowledge [epignosis] of God” (Col 1:10) – and to do whatever He asks and to go wherever He leads us!
A poem by Mary G. Brainard (1837-1905) called “He Knows” nicely sums up the trust we need to have in doing God’s will:
So on I go not knowing,
I would not if I might;
I’d rather walk in the dark with God
Than go alone in the light;
I’d rather walk in faith with Him
Than go alone by sight.
Dear Heavenly Father, You have created and designed me in Your image and likeness. Thank You for also calling me into an “epignosis” relationship of knowing and experiencing You moment by moment through faith and trust in this life’s journey.
Jesus, You are the “forerunner” (Heb 6:20), and I fix my eyes upon You (Heb 12:1-2). I do not know what curves, mountains, and dark valleys lie ahead in this course of this life through which You are leading me, but I trust You, for You are “the Way, and the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6). I give my whole life to You as a “living sacrifice” to do Your will which is “good (good for me and those my life touches), acceptable (I know I am able to do whatever it is, for Your grace is sufficient), and perfect (the absolute very best thing that I could ever do)” (Rom 12:1-2).
Holy Spirit, You are the “Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation in the Knowledge [epignosis] of Jesus” (Eph 1:17). You were sent to dwell within us as our Helper, Guide, and Comforter. Thank You for adjusting my ears, eyes, and heart away from all this world’s static, so I might be fine-tuned into what You are speaking and where You are directing. O Spirit of God, if I “turn to the right” or “turn to the left,” help me to be sensitive enough to hear Your gentle correction – that “word behind [me]” – saying, “This is the way, walk in it” (Isaiah 30:20-21).
Father in Heaven, I am not asking to have full knowledge of Your will before I choose to obey. I am choosing to obey Your will BEFORE I know what it is – because I know Who You are and I love You!
I’d rather walk in the dark with God than go alone in the light;
I’d rather walk in faith with Him than go alone by sight.
So I take Your hand, Father! I set my eyes upon You, Jesus! Holy Spirit move me forward!
Your Kingdom come, Your will be done!