“9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, 10 that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, 11 being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”
As Paul was writing this letter to his Church friends in Philippi he wanted to build in them a sense of unity and encouragement. The church was experiencing a huge amount of persecution; however, during this time the people of the church grew in love and generosity. Paul was not only received as a stranger when he arrived in Philippi, the growing church collected money for his missionary endeavors. Paul used the words the Holy Spirit gave him in order to encourage spiritual growth in this young church. Paul also was adamant in praying for this church faithfully, and he wanted to let them know he prayed for them.
Paul was not really writing this letter to teach the church how to pray, but we can learn some awesome truths from this scripture. One major truth we can learn from verses 9-11 is subtle, but really important. Paul told them that he was praying for them. Paul wanted them to know that they were on his heart and mind, and he took the time to lift them up in prayer on a daily basis. There is something so special in knowing that you are being prayed for. Paul was encouraging them just by letting them know that he cared enough for them to pray. We as Christ followers need to realize that prayer is the ministry of all Christians. Prayer is not always for our benefit - more often than not it is so much more important for those we pray for. We need to let others know we are praying for them and then really do.
The next thing we can learn from this scripture is to know what we can pray for. Paul mentions five things that he prayed for. 1. First he prays that their love may abound – Paul recognizes the love they have, however he wants them to increase this because he knows it will help spread the gospel. When the world sees the love of Christ displayed in their lives the world will be attracted. 2. Paul also prayed that they would grow in Knowledge and Discernment- for the Christ follower Growth is most important. If we are not growing then we are fading and become stagnate. Paul also knew that the church was an easy victim for false teachers. He prayed his friends would have Godly discernment or understanding to protect themselves from destructive men who were teaching false doctrines.
In the next installment we will look at the next 3 things Paul prayed for, and we will see how to apply these truths to our lives. Remember to apply these principles when praying for your friends and family!
In earnest and sincere prayer for you!
Love in Christ,