I was recently reading Mark Dever and Paul Alexander’s The Deliberate Church. There Mark Dever talks about the 4 priorities he had in taking up his ministry in Washington D.C. His priorities were Preaching, Prayer, Personal Discipleship & Patience. His points on the place of pray in the ministry have led me to think for a few weeks now about beginning a series of bible studies on Prayer for the Church. The first is a collection of some thoughts on Philippians 1:9-11.
I’m in a blogging mood today, so here’s what I’ve been thinking:
This prayer in Philippians 1:9-11 teaches us to pray:
1. That we would never be satisfied with the love we already have, but would long for it to deepen.
Verse 9 – “That your love may abound more and more.”
2. The this deepening love would grow, not out of our own possibly wayward thinking, but rather out of a knowledge of the word, and of the character of Christ, which we would seek to emulate, and knowledge of the love that he has shown us.
Verse 9 – “That your love may abound with knowledge”
3. That this love would be willing; willing to be quick to do the right thing, not just thinking about doing something, but to actually do it.
Verse 9 – “That your love may abound with discernment”
4. That this deepening love would result in growing discernment between right and wrong actions, resulting in a pursuit of righteousness and godliness.
Verse 10 – “so that you may approve what is excellent”
5. That this desire for righteousness would be displayed through perseverance and godliness in the life of believers.
Verse 10 – “and so be pure”
6. That there would be a real desire for the good of others, and an active movement away from causing hurt and offence.
Verse 10 – “and so be blameless”
7. That we would all keep the goal – the return of Jesus – in mind, and that we would live in as people looking forward to that.
Verse 10 – “so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ”
8. That the fruit of righteousness, that is the evidence of the Holy Spirit’s work in sanctification would be evident in the lives of believers.
Verse 11 – “Filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Chrsit”
9. That ultimately God would be glorified in this church, through the walk of the saints, as they proceed into deeper godly affections for one another and for God himself.
Verse 11 – “to the glory and praise of God.”
Point 3 probably bears some explanation. It’s a tricky word to pin down, but I’ve taken the meaning not to be limited to the sense of discerment, but more linked to the power or manner in which that discerment actually works. This can be somewhat supported by the appearance of something similar in the following verse – the power to approve what is excellent. The idea is that not merely have a sense, but having that sense sharply tuned is paramount.
Anyway, God willing, the folk at Greyfriars will be encouraged to make these points part of thier prayerlife over the next week or so.