Whatever the apostle has requested for his own congregations and the churches, he founded, he now also asks for the Colossians. In general most congregations face the same challenges and endure very similar problems. That is why the apostle St. Paul pleads for their increase of knowledge and for a holy way of life amongst them. Every advancement in life depends on progress in knowledge. Yet this general petition of the apostle takes on a special turn. He prays that God would fill them: “with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives” (Col 1:9 NIV) Mostly people go according to their own will. Some want to follow the will of God, but are afraid when they don’t recognize the minute detail of his will. The apostle prays that the Colossians will be enlightened in their hearts by divine wisdom and spiritual understanding so that they will not only recognize the goal towards which they are to move, but also the way how to get there. He emphasizes the crucial importance of the Holy Spirit to do this education and nurturing. He carries out this schooling, which perfects our hearts and minds in the most beautiful way – even if it contradicts the ways and wills of our sinful self. It goes without saying that this schooling is ongoing and will not be over for us until we die.
Eternal, merciful God and Father! We praise you and give you thanks for your saving light that you have revealed to us in your holy Word showing us your Son Jesus Christ as our Lord and saviour. You have revealed to us your holy will so that we walk according to your commandments and by your grace learn to die peacefully. Sanctify us by your Holy Spirit, so that we would receive your Word faithfully and find our joy therein, serving you in holiness and righteousness as is pleasing to you. We ask this in Jesus Christ’s name. Amen. (Church order of Brandenburg 1553)
Speak, O Lord, your servant listens, Let your Word to me come near; Newborn life and spirit give me, Let each promise still my fear. Death’s dread power, its inward strife, Wars against your Word of life; Fill me, Lord, with love’s strong fervor That I cling to your forever!
Oh, what blessing to be near you And to listen to Your voice; Let me ever love and hear You, Let Your Word be now my choice! Many hardened sinners, Lord, Flee in terror at Your Word, but to me, who know my burden, Show me now our Word of pardon!
Lord, Your words are waters living, When my thirsting spirit pleads; Lord, Your words are bread life giving, On Your words my spirit feeds. Lord, Your words will be my light Through death’s vale, its dreary night; Yes, they are my sword prevailing, And my cup of joy unfailing!
Precious Jesus, I entreat You, Let Your words in me take root; Let this gift of heaven enrich me So that I bring generous fruit: Never take them from my heart Till I see You as You are, When in heavenly bliss and glory I will meet You and adore You! (Anna Sophia von Hessen-Darmstadt, 1638-1683 tr George A.T. Rygh, 1860-1942)
This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for Monday after the twenty-fourth Sunday after the high holiday and festival of the Holy Trinity. It is found on Pg. 384 in Lob sei Dir ewig, o Jesu! (Eternal Praise to you o Jesus!) edited by A. Schuster and published in the Freimund Verlag, Neuendettelsau 1949.