9I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. 10For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. 11May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God.Philippians 1:9-11
Why does praying for someone seem so complicated? Unsure of what to say or how to pray for an individual, I stammer about. Or worse yet, I just don’t pray. This prayer, written by Paul to the church in Philippi, is an awesome go to for every situation, every person, everywhere.
Unpacking it a bit, this is what I find. First, the main concern is our love meter. How full is the tank? It should overflow! How recently have you prayed for someone’s love tank to overflow?
Secondly, our lives ought to show growth in both knowledge and understanding. Paul doesn’t expound on what we ought to know or understand, but the word translated knowledge here is the Greek word that means real knowledge. Let me explain.
There are things I know. I can say I know Joe Biden because he is our president and I know who he is. I would recognize him if I saw him on the street. But I don’t really know him. That would only happen if I spent time with him and had shared experiences with him. This is the kind of knowledge Paul prays for the believers. This knowledge of God develops when I spend time Jesus, when I am attentive to his interaction with me through the Holy Spirit. The more I experience God, the more knowledge I have, the more I understand who he is.
“Understanding” is expanded next — the understanding is growth in discerning what really matters. You see, much of what I am concerned about doesn’t matter. Much of what I invest my resources (time, money, energy) in doesn’t matter. As I grow in my understanding (of what really matters), my life takes on a different hue. The colors of my life soften to reflect the character of Christ rather than my own colors.
Finally, Paul is concerned that these dear people always experience the fruit of their salvation which is righteous character that develops as a byproduct of life in Jesus.
Now that is good stuff!! I would be thrilled and honored if someone prayed this for me. So, let’s honor one another above ourselves and start right here with this prayer! I believe we would see a revolution in our communities!