“For this reason we have not stopped praying for you since the day we heard about you. We ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through every kind of spiritual wisdom and insight. We ask this so that you will live the kind of lives that prove you belong to the Lord. Then you will want to please him in every way as you grow in producing every kind of good work by this knowledge about God. We ask him to strengthen you by his glorious might with all the power you need to patiently endure everything with joy” (Colossians 1:9-11 GW).
The final component of Paul the Apostle’s prayer for the Colossian church came in the form of a heartfelt request: “We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need” (NLT). While Paul’s genuine concern for the church at Colossae is clearly evident, a second glance at this passage reveals it to be far more than it may appear.
You see, this prayer request features several expressive terms like strengthened (CSB), power (NET), and glorious might (ESV). These phrases relate to the God-given ability to overcome the problems and difficulties we encounter in life. One Biblical translator captures the essence of this idea in the following paraphrase: “…we pray that you will be strengthened from God’s boundless resources, so that you will find yourselves able to pass through any experience and endure it with courage” (Phillips). This strength is just as needful today as it was in the days of the first century.
Unlike the power of this world that will eventually fade, this God-given ability is substantive and enduring. It enables us to overcome difficult circumstances, challenging situations, and the trials of life with an attitude of patient endurance. Nevertheless, one source offers an important cautionary message…
“Why did Paul want the Christians to have this power? Was it so they might go out and perform spectacular miracles? Was it so they might raise the dead, heal the sick, cast out demons? Once again the answer is ‘No.’ This power is needed so that the child of God may have all patience and longsuffering with joy.
This deserves careful attention! In parts of Christendom today, great emphasis is placed upon so-called miracles, such as speaking in tongues, healing the sick, and similar sensational acts. But there is a greater miracle than all of these in the age in which we live: A child of God suffering patiently and thanking God in the midst of the trial!” (1)
(1) William Macdonald, Believer’s Bible Commentary Edited by Arthur Farstad Thomas Nelson Publishers p.1991