Prayer- Father God, through this passage, teach us how to pray… better.
Scripture– 9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.
What’s your prayer for others? I mean, once you’re done with the immediate health needs that so preoccupy our prayer lives? Paul has already told his readers that he prays for them with joy and affection, but how does he intercede for them? In the NIV, he prays for the quality of their love, that it would be “smart” love, discerning love, so that they wouldn’t just not do the bad thing, or even the just OK thing, or even the good thing. His prayer for them is that their love would be discerning love, so that they could discern what is BEST. (Sneak a peak ahead to his advice to them in 4:8-9.) Do you make the same connection that Paul does here, that our LOVE needs to be discerning, not just our intellect or wisdom? There are so many ways that our “love” can settle for less than the best-
- Dishonest communications,
- Placating the bully, rather than defending the one being bullied.
AGAPE love requires our best intention, but then DOING what is best for others. Paul desperately wants that for the brothers and sisters in Philippi, and we should want it (and pray for it ) for our brothers and sisters who worship together here in Warrenton. And why do what is best? So that we can be “pure”- unmixed with conflicting motives- and blameless until the day of Christ… (Did you notice that this is the second time he has brought up “the day of Christ?” Seems kind of important, doesn’t it?)
…But wait, there’s more! Paul is still not done. He wants us pure and blameless (check, got it…), “filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ” by us staying connected to the vine (John 15:1-8). And the outcome of ALL of this? – “to the glory and praise of God.” Discerning love leads to best thoughts and behavior, resulting in us being blameless and pure and fruitful… to the glory and praise of God. Good stuff. That’s what Paul prays for them; will you pray it for someone else as well?
So pick one person, just for today. Intercede for them before God. With all your heart, bring them before God and ask God to help their love “abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight,” that God would give them smart, discerning love.
Prayer- for all those who read this blog today, Heavenly Father, I ask you to give each one a love that grows in depth, in richness, in scope, in understanding and discernment, so that they can truly live what is BEST, the life that you want for them. And I ask it for me, as well.