Philippians 1:9-11 What I Pray for You

And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve what is excellent, and so 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.

What I Pray for You

Love and knowledge are related.  We often say that love is blind, however, I think this is wrong.  I think infatuation is blind.  Love sees the faults a person has and loves the person unconditionally, with those faults.  In the case of God the more we know about him the more we see his perfections.  There are some who claim to be Christian but have no desire to know God more deeply.  I wonder how one can say that they are a Christian, and can even claim that they have love for God, but their desires are else where.  Paul’s desires are for more of God, more knowledge, more discernment.  This increased knowledge of Jesus’ perspective on the world will lead to a deeper decision making. The decisions a Christian makes will be more in tune with what God would want for the individual and others in their world.  The one we spend our time with the most is the one we become most like.  If we see how God thinks we will think more like God.  This leads us to a radically different lifestyle.  We realise that we are sanctified, holy, set apart from the rest of the world.  This is not because we are superior or haughty in our attitude.  One aspect of our holiness is that we need to think about ourselves less and less.  As Dr. Green of Moody graduate school described heaven, he talked of it as somewhere where we are free from ourselves.  I agree that we will be free from the self that is self-obsessed, self-promoting, and self-assured.  The new self will be God-obsessed, God-promoting, and God-assured.  In this sense, the self is lost.  Within us grows a fruit that serves others and serves God.

This has been my prayer for my small group.  When we met together, I longed for the group to grow in the knowledge and discernment that comes through a relationship to Christ.  However, some showed evidence of being locked within themselves and I had no way of opening them up.  Others lacked commitment.  I lacked faith in seeing how God could break in and change the longing and desires of the group.  First we had to admit that there was something wrong or incomplete within each of us.  We had to realise that we were wrong about many things.  In so doing, God could make it right.  Unfortunately, some of us hid behind silence or avoided vulnerability or honesty.  Others deceived themselves into believing they were committed, without actually attending.  I took the lack of longing for God on myself.  What I pray now, is that a desire for God would consume the individuals that were in the small group and a quest would begin.  Perhaps our small group was a crutch or a decoy.  Perhaps it enabled unhealthy patterns to continue.  Perhaps people believed that they must be mature because they had their small group.  Now, I long to see the fruit of God’s work in each of our lives as we are eagerly seeking the next step God has laid out on our path.  What will God do?  What will we become?  I pray the quest for God will be everything for the Skinner Small Group, now that it has disbanded.

Like Paul, do you pray for me and for others that we would know God more intimately.  I have not arrived.  There is so much in me that needs to change.  Do you pray for me?  Who do you pray for in this way?  How do you maintain an attitude of prayer that results in growth in others?  Who prays for you?  Paul prayed for his churches.  Pastors need to pray for their churches.  Ask pastors to pray for you and let them know what you don’t know.  Ask them to educate you in the ways that you need to grow.  Confess to sin with each other and discuss areas of weakness.  Then pray that God will supernaturally reveal the path to healing and wholeness.  Communication is the life-blood of relationship.  Communicate with God about his communication with others.

Prayer

Dear Father, you care for us and want us to know you.  For many of us, our desire is to be known and to have you help us live for ourselves.  I know that there is still much of my flesh that works against me.  I want to want you.  I want to grow in the knowledge and discernment that come through Jesus.  I also want that for those who were in my small group.

Questions

  1. For what does Paul pray?
  2. How are knowledge and love related?
  3. How is your knowledge of God and its daily growth reflective of your heart for God?
  4. What have you learned God desires for you?
  5. What do you pray for other people?
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About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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