Here are two short prayers that help us know how to pray for others. Reflect on them and insert names in them as you pray for others.
1. Philippians 1:9-10: “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 be pure and blameless until the day of Christ.” (NIV)
Look more closely at the pattern for prayer here.
Love is the crowning Christian virtue (I Corinthians 13:1-3;Colossians 3:14) and the firstfruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). Love is the distinguishing mark of discipleship (John 13:34-35) and should influence every decision believers make (Matthew 22:37-40). In this prayer for the Philippians, the apostle indicates that growth in love (tempered by knowledge and discernment), is indispensable to the constant challenge “to discern what is best” (which is the goal of Christian living).
“The ever-increasing love for which Paul prays is to be discriminating. It is to be constrained by `knowledge’ and `depth of insight’. Without the constraints of knowledge and insight, love very easily degenerates into mawkish sentimentality or into the kind of mushy pluralism the world often confuses with love. These constraints do not stifle love. Far from it, they ensure its purity and value. Such love, Paul insists, must abound more and more.
“Paul’s thought is that there are countless decisions in life where it is not a question of making a straight forward decision between right and wrong. What you need is the extraordinary discernment that helps you perceive how things differ, and then make the best possible choice. That is what Paul means by choosing `what is best.’ The pursuit of what is best can never be carried on without constant appeal to the standard of God’s gracious self-disclosure in the Scriptures (cf. Matt. 7:24-27).” (D.A. Carson, A Call to Spiritual Reformation, pp. 126,27,30)
2. Colossians 1:9-10: “For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God….” (NASB)
In this prayer, a connection is established between the will of God, wisdom, and the goal of pleasing God in everything. The apostle is not praying for them to discover God’s will but to be filled with the knowledge of His will.
“Is there anything that our own generation more urgently needs than this? Some of us have chased every fad, scrambled aboard every bandwagon, adopted every gimmick, pursued every encounter with the media. Others of us have rigidly cherished every tradition, determined to change as little as possible, worshipped what is aged simply because it is aged. But where are the men and women whose knowledge of God is as fresh as it is profound, whose delight in thinking God’s thoughts after him ensures that their study of Scripture is never merely intellectual and self-distancing, whose desire to please God easily outstrips residual and corrupting desires to shine in public? People cannot live by bread and Jacuzzis alone. We desperately need meditative and reflective dependence on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Deut. 8:3; Matt. 4:4).”
“The need takes on painful urgency when we discover that even within our churches, let alone the nation at large, there are rapidly declining standards of the most basic bible knowledge. True, basic Bible knowledge does not ensure the kind of knowledge of God’s will that Paul has in mind. But ignorance of the Bible, the focal place where God has so generously disclosed his will, pretty well ensures that we will not be filled with this knowledge of God’s will, this knowledge that consists in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.” (D.A. Carson, Spiritual Reformation, pp. 103-104)
Practicing these prayers:
“And this is my prayer; that ____________________love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that ______________ may be able to discern what is best and be pure and blameless until the day of Christ.”
“For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that _____________ may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that _______________ may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God”
Offer these prayers for Churches and individual believers.
Don’t hesitate to expand on the implications by personalizing the prayer to specific circumstances. Perhaps, for example, you know someone facing a difficult decision. Personalize your request for their need to “to discern what is best” or to “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects.”
please also pray for me,