"For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light." (Colossians 1:9-12)As the Gospel was spreading throughout the whole known world and continually bearing fruit towards God, Paul's desire was that it would also do so among the Colossians. Paul prays several specific things for them as they continue to grow in God and bear fruit through His Gospel.
First he prays that they would be filled with the knowledge of God's will. Most of the time we hope that such knowledge will come through some direct prophetic word, like when the Father told Mary and Joseph to flea to Egypt. "An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, 'Get up! Take the Child and His mother and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is going to search for the Child to destroy Him.'" (Matthew 2:13) However, knowledge of God's will often does not come in this fashion. We learn to understand God's will by growing in wisdom and understanding. It is only through gaining wisdom and growing in spiritual understanding that we come to discern and understand God's will for our life and for the world around us.
Secondly, he prays that we might walk worthy of the Lord. This requires both a knowledge of His will and the courage to act upon it. It is not enough to know what God wills but we must also do what He wills. Additionally, we must come to know and understand what it means to please the Lord. Doing the things that please the Lord does not often come naturally but is something we must learn as we walk with Him. Paul commands us to, "walk as children of Light... trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord." (Ephesians 5:8,10) Learning what pleases the Lord requires a relationship with the Lord. We cannot learn what pleases our spouse without a relationship with them by which we might learn what pleases them. The same is with the Lord. We must know Him if we are to find out what pleases Him.
Thirdly, Paul prays that, as the Gospel is bearing fruit throughout the world, so might it also bear fruit in us. The fruit of the Gospel is not only the lives it redeems but also the fruit born in the lives that have been redeemed. There are two aspects to this fruitfulness in God. One is the production of good works in our lives. Paul tells Timothy to instruct the believers, "to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share," (1 Timothy 6:18) Good works are the result of faith working through love. The second aspect is an internal growth and it is a growth in the knowledge of God. The Gospel did not come just to save us but also to reconcile us back to God. It is God's hope that as we live and walk in Him, we might also grow in our knowledge of Him.
Lastly, Paul asks that we might grow in strength and might, not for the performing of great works, but for the purpose of patience, endurance, and steadfastness. Jesus reminds us that it is "the one who endures to the end, he will be saved." (Mark 13:13) Life is not always easy and there are bound to be trials and tribulation along the way. We need the power and strength of God to see us through these times and to deliver us safely back home to Him. It is in times like these that we will find that it the joy of the Lord that is our strength. It says of Jesus that, "for the joy set before Him [He] endured the cross," (Hebrews 12:2) Without joy we will not endure. We need's God's joy in our lives and this joy comes only through Him. Let's get to know Him so that as we grow in the knowledge of Him we might also grow in the joy of Him.