Philippiansby David Sanford
Today, we receive great encouragement to keep going strong for the Lord. The encouragement in these verses comes in the form of a prayer, which we too can pray for our Christian friends-and ourselves.
First, Paul prays that the Philippian believers' love ″may abound more and more″ (1:9). Of course, this isn't ″love″ as the world typically defines it-a calculated love based on personal convenience or physical (or other) desirability. It is the love that God gives us (1 John 4:19)-an unconditional and self-sacrificing love demonstrated by His Son, Jesus Christ, when He died on the cross for us. In response to this love, we love Him and show heartfelt, practical, and prayerful love for others.
Second, Paul prays that their love will grow ″in knowledge and depth of insight″ (Philippians 1:9). God's love within us isn't vague or vaporous. It is tangible, experiential, and life-changing. God's love isn't based on knowing profound somethings, but is based on knowing the greatest Someone. Indeed, God is Someone we can spend our whole lives getting to know better. We can do that consciously and daily by surrendering to the Holy Spirit who dwells within us-and by keeping in step with Him (Galatians 5:25).
Third, Paul's prayer indicates that a growing love will enable the Philippian church to ″discern what is best″ and ″be pure and blameless for the day of Christ″ (Philippians 1:10). The value of discernment is two-fold. One, growing in God's love helps us understand what really matters, which is enjoying purity of heart and life. Two, practising God's love towards others helps us focus on what really matters, which is encouraging them to also enjoy purity of heart and life.
Finally, Paul prays for the believers to be ″filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ″ (v. 11). What an excellent prayer this is! Today, we tend to pray primarily for physical or practical needs. Let's follow Paul's example of putting the spiritual needs of others high on our prayer lists.
Take time to pray Paul's prayer for yourself. Which of his points seems the most pertinent to you?
What struggles do you face in prayer? Bring them to the Lord and ask Him to ignite a passion for prayer within you.