Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness… (KJV)*
Paul prayed a mighty prayer at the beginning of his letter to the Colossians, one that would serve us all well to pray at the beginning of this new year. The first part is obvious. Who among us does not need to be strengthened after the hustle and bustle of Christmas and as we look toward all that the coming year holds? What is interesting in Paul’s prayer is how we are to come by that strength and to what end.
In and of ourselves, we are weak, no matter how well we eat or how much exercise we do. Paul prays for the Colossians to be strengthened according to the power of God. It is His strength that truly makes us strong. Notice, too, the purpose of having this strength. It is not to have enough energy to accomplish all that is on our own to-do list. It is so that we may be patient and longsuffering. Paul knew that the Colossians would have much to suffer as followers of Christ. So do we. The world is increasingly hostile to Christians. Even in the land of the free, it is a challenge to practice the faith openly.
Pay attention to the end of this prayer as well. We pray for the power of God to make us strong so that we may be able to endure all that comes our way, and then we see it. We are praying for all of this with joy. We will all endure hardships this coming year. The goal for the Christian is not to avoid them, but to bear up under them with joy. In this way those around us will see the true power of God in our lives and be drawn to Him.
Gracious Father, strengthen me with Your power that I may endure all that comes my way this year with joy. May Your Spirit radiate through me and draw others to You. In the name of my strong, suffering Lord, Jesus Christ, amen.
*2011 marks the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Bible. It stands to this day as one of the greatest achievements of translation and a testament to the beauty of English.
Copyright © 2011 by Steven R. Perkins