As we move into 2018, we’re looking at four prayers the Apostle Paul prayed in his letters and how those prayers have the potential to change our years. The first prayer we’re examining is in Paul’s letter to the Philippian church.
Read Philippians 1.9–11.
Paul is asking in these verses for something that all of us want: fruitful lives that are aligned with God’s plan. Paul prays that the Philippians’ love would “abound more and more” in verse nine, and then talks about the results of this prayer in verses 10 and 11. He identifies three results of abounding love.
- When our love abounds, we are able to discern God’s best (verse 10).
- When our love abounds, we are able to live a life free of regrets (verse 10). As those who are “pure and blameless,” we can look forward to meeting Jesus rather than dreading coming face-to-face with Him.
- When our love abounds, we are able to live a fruitful life that makes an impact (verse 11).
These are all results that come out of the prayer of verse nine: “that your love would abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight.” Paul is talking here about the Philippians’ love of God. The words he uses—knowledge and insight—point to more than just a casual relationship with God.
When Paul talks about knowledge, he’s talking about relational knowledge that can only come from having a deeply personal encounter with Jesus. By insight, he means knowing how that encounter with Jesus affects our daily lives.
In verse nine, Paul is saying that in order to live a life of discernment, blamelessness, and fruitfulness, we need a growing love for Jesus that’s deeply personal and entirely practical. As we spend more and more time being transformed by Jesus, we’ll continue to see more and more of His fruit in our lives.
- In what areas of your life are you attempting to discern God’s will and best plan? How have you prayed for this discernment? Ask a trusted friend or your CABLE Group to pray with you for this discernment.
- When you think of coming face-to-face with Jesus, do you have a sense of hope and joy or a sense of dread? Why do you have this reaction?
- In what ways do you see your life making an impact in the world around you right now? Look for opportunities to impact people for Jesus as you go about your week.
- What are you doing to intentionally spend time with Jesus and continue to abound in your love for God? What can you start doing?
- How will you participate in 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting? What will you fast from? What will you do to intentionally grow closer to God during this time?