Friday, May 10, 2024

Paul’s Prayer for Love, Knowledge, and Discernment

Friday, May 10, 2024

Paul’s Prayer for Love, Knowledge, and Discernment – Philippians 1:9-11 Submitted by Kay Crumley

There are times in my life that I find it difficult to be loving toward someone. That person may just wear out my last bit of patience. I have discovered that it is often because they are not behaving or reacting the way I think they should. They do not meet my expectations or needs. That forces me to pause and ask myself, is this all about me? Am I too focused on my desires to concern myself with knowing about the circumstances of that person’s life in this moment? Could it be that I should investigate what is preventing them from behaving as they have in the past? Should I turn my focus off my wants and check in with their circumstances or needs? Knowing that may lead me to be more compassionate or address the behavior in a loving mannerWhat steps must I take to change my attitude? I remember a common phrase ‘you need an attitude adjustment’ that was used to remind me or someone else that the problem might but with me rather than those who aggravated me. 

How do we reset our attitude? Believers are to pray without ceasing (1 Thess 5:16-18) because that is the will of God for us. I find that prayer always changes my focus and attitude. We are commanded in James 5:16 to pray for one another. When I take a breath and say a prayer my focus is no longer on self but on the Father who is to be glorified in all I do. When we pray for others for God to change them, He will often change our hearts even if they remain the same because praying for them demonstrates our love for others. We are to love others as God loves us, John 12:15. 

Paul prayed for his friends in Philippi. He wrote to them from Rome while he was in prison for teaching that Jesus was the Messiah and had been resurrected from the dead. He knew the people in the Philippian church because he had started that church. They had great love and respect for him. When they learned he was in prison in Rome they collected money and sent it to him. He wrote this prayer to them as encouragement to them as they faced opposition as he did.  

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 for the day of Christ,11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. 

His first prayer for them is that their love will abound. What do you think of when you hear the word ‘abound’? It can mean be plentiful or be full of. But I really like these; overflow with or be packed with. Think about how you might respond differently to those who oppose you if you are packed with love. I recently came across the story of a sponge; ‘When you fill a sponge with water and then add pressure water comes out. We are to be so full of God’s love that when life, or difficult relationships, squeeze us, His love should flow out of our lives. That causes me to ask myself what I am full of, self or God?  

Secondly, Paul prayed they would have more knowledge. We gain knowledge through Bible study, hearing to the Word taught, and by connecting to Godly mentors to guide our knowledge and understanding of God.  

Finally, he prayed for them to have depth of insight. This is the ability to look beyond the obvious and grasp the underlying meaning. I want to be able to have a deep understanding of Him and His Word, more than just knowing, but to understand and apply it to my daily life. 

Why did he want them to achieve these abilities? What is the purpose? So, you can know what is best and be blameless before Christ. That is the desire of my heart. Then we can be righteous, in right standing with Him, that only comes through our Savior, Jesus Christ. Then, we will glorify and praise our Holy, Almighty God. Our purpose is to bring glory to Him. We can only do that when we have a vibrant relationship with Him and are constantly communicating with Him.  

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