ORDINARYmoments: Prayer for abounding love

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When we pray for our loved ones or friends, do we sometimes feel like we are running out of words or are not sure what to pray anymore besides the usual routine? We often pray for our loved ones and friends to do well in their studies, to excel in whatever they do, to have a good job, to earn good money. We ask God to bless their family, for wealth and health. While all these are meaningful prayers, is there anything else we can pray for?

The Apostle Paul often wrote in his letters passionate prayers for the believers. His prayer is a higher level of prayer, a prayer that draws us closer to God, His work and His way. To Paul, life should be more than just good health, wealth, happiness and being trouble-free. He desires his beloved believers to come to the true realization of who God is and what He has done for us. One of the prayers by Paul was written in the book of Philippians. “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ — to the glory and praise of God.” (Phil. 1: 9-11)

Flowing out of warm friendship and love, Paul prayed for the believers in Philippi. His prayer for them is four fold:

1) That your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight. Paul prayed for the Philippians that their love will increase. This love is not emotional love, but love that is in rooted in the knowledge of God and judgment. Knowledge here refers to the doctrinal and practical truth.

2) To be able to discern what is best. When we grow in our knowledge of God and depth of insight, we will be able to discern what is best. Life is full of choices. It is never easy to make choices, all the more so to make the best choice. But with increased love in the knowledge of God, we will make the right choice.

3) To live a life that is pure and blameless. This verb “pure” in the original text has an interesting combination of two words together: sunlight and judgment. It describes putting something under the sun to judge.
It is not saying that we are sinless or perfect, but it is referring to a genuine heart, no hidden motive oragenda, that can stand under the sun, the judgment by God’s standards. Living such a life comes naturally from the first two points. If we make good choices in life, then of course, we will be able to lead a life that is pure and blameless.

4) To be filled with the fruit of righteousness. Righteousness here refers to every attitude and action consistent with God’s standard of what is right. This fruit comes as a result of one’s increased love for God, deeper insight and ability to discern and lead a life that is pure and blameless. Ultimately, everything is to the single end that God will receive glory and praise.

Next time we pray for ourselves, loved ones, friends or others, pray beyond health and wealth. Use Paul’s prayer to pray for them that their love for God will abound more and more.

Winnie Chan
Lay Preacher of Wesley Methodist Church, Sibu
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