Paul keeps no secrets about his prayer life. On several occasions, in his letters, he allows and welcomes us into his prayer room to see his gratitude and hear the petitions of his heart.
For example, he is thankful to God for his brothers and sisters in the faith in Ephesus, Corinth and Thessalonica. He prays for peace and unity among the saints in Rome (Rom 15: 5 – 6), and he prays that the Colossians might be ‘strengthened with all power according to his glorious might’ (Col 1: 11).
When he writes to the Philippian church, Paul is, again, very transparent about what he is asking God for them: ‘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).
Why would God have these insights in His Word?
Here’s one possibility: to provide models for us, examples of prayers to inspire us. A great exercise might be to take this prayer as a framework for use in our own personal time with God as we ask Him to help us grow in the faith. Or it might be a framework to use as we pray for others.
Paul is petitioning his Father in Heaven that those in his care might increase and flourish in their faith. He also wants them to grow in knowledge and wisdom. So, let’s pray that for those in our care, or those God may place on your heart. Then put your name in the prayers; It’s ok to pray those things for yourself.
Paul believes that such growth will be reflected in the quality of their lives – purity, clear consciences, fruitfulness and right living. Think about each one of those attributes and then take a moment to pray them into being – in your life, and in the lives of those around you.
Here’s one example of a prayer I have prayed, based on this passage, at my home church
“Lord, we want our love for you to grow. Please increase us in the knowledge of you. Increase our wisdom in you.
Lord we want to discern what is best – we want to see the difference between a good idea and a God idea.
Lord, we want to be people who are pure and clean. You have washed our sins away but help us to resist the temptation of looking back in memory of them and the temptations of new ones.
And may our lives be filled, Lord, with the fruits of your love, your death on the cross, your mercy and your grace. In your name, Amen”
God bless – Terry