TO CHEW ON: "And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God." Philippians 1:9-11
Don't you just love it when someone prays over you, and for you, the kind of prayer quoted in our focus verses today? This kind of prayer lifts our sights from our concerns to how we fit into God's big picture. It casts a vision of what we strive toward. It reminds us that we're part of something big, glorious, and eternal.
Wes Campbell in the Introduction to the "Apostolic Prayers" chapter of Praying the Bible: The Book of Prayers says:
"Have you ever listened to a father earnestly pray for his child? In the Apostolic Prayers you find the apostles—the early fathers of the church—praying for their spiritual children. Most of the Apostolic Prayers in the Bible were written by the Apostle Paul" - p. 187.
Our focus verses today make up one of those prayers prayed by Paul over the Christians in Philippi. Campbell notes the characteristics commonly found in such prayers. He observes that Apostolic prayers are:
How can we make the most of these rich prayers?
- "Fatherly prayers. They express what a father wants for those he has birthed and is raising in the Lord.
- Foundational prayers. As founders of the church, the apostles were setting things in order.
- God-focused prayers. They are, in fact, so God-focused that they virtually ignore the demonic host.
- Positive prayers.... Apostolic Prayers are not focused on fixing what we aren't, but rather on fulfilling what we can be.
- Prayers for the church. They bring before God the concern of the saved whether individuals, churches or regions"
"When praying these prayers for yourself, personalize them by changing the pronouns and ask that God would do these things in your own life. Then pray the exact same words over your friends and family, putting their names into the text. Do the same for your church and the other churches throughout your city or region. When you do this, you will be praying like the apostles prayed. You can even expect the same results!" - all quotes above from Wes Campbell, Praying the Bible: The Book of Prayers, pp. 187-191.
PRAYER: Dear God, may my love overflow more and more and may I keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want to understand what really matters, so that I may live a pure and blameless life until the day of Christ's return. May I always be filled with the fruit of my salvation—the righteous character produced in my life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God. Amen. (Philippians 1:9-11 personalized from the NLT version.)
MORE: More Apostolic Prayers
Want to read/pray more Apostolic Prayers? Here are a few of the more than a dozen found in the New Testament:
1 Thessalonians 3:9-13; 5:23-24
3 John 2
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.