This prayer request Paul makes for the Colossians is that they “be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might.” Paul is praying that God, by God’s infinite and mighty power, give the Colossians strength.
This request is no surprise. We all want strength. We all want to be strong, healthy, successful. We want to be able to beat the bad guys, serve our families, and take whatever good opportunities present themselves to us.
But, this is not the kind of strength that Paul prays for the Colossians. Look at the why of Paul’s Prayer for their strength. Paul asks that they be strengthened “for all endurance and patience with joy.” The strength that Paul prays for is not for them to live long, prosper, and get rich with perfect health. No, the strength that Paul prays for the Colossians is strength to endure hardships with patience and joy. Christians, this is what we should pray for ourselves too.
We will suffer hardships. The idea of trusting Christ leading to lives of comfort and ease is not a biblical idea at all. Jesus promised us persecution. The world hated him, and they will hate us too.
John 15:18-21 (ESV)
18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. 21 But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.
The prayer is not that we would have easy lives, but that God would give us the strength to patiently keep going. When things get hard, we pray that god will give us the faith we need to endure that hardship. And God wants us not only to endure suffering, but to do so with the joy that marks a true child of God.
Hebrews 12:1-2 (ESV)
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Jesus endured the cross, the ultimate of suffering, why? He did so for the joy set before him. When we have hardships, we are to learn from Jesus. There is joy for the child of God who walks through suffering and trusts in God the entire way.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (ESV)
16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
Yes, this world will be hard. Do not ever kid yourself about that. In fact, the world will reject and despise you if you truly try to serve Jesus faithfully. But, also never forget that God is there to strengthen you, keep you, preserve you, and eventually reward you with joy. So pray that God will strengthen you to endure hardships for joy.