If you knew God would answer your petitions, how would that change your prayer life? Would you pray more fervently and more often? Philippians 1:9–11 records Paul’s plea for the Philippian church—it was a prayer God was certain to answer.
Joy saturated Paul’s prayers for the believers at Philippi. They had joined Paul in the gospel community—as his brothers and sisters in Christ, as his supporters, and as his partners in suffering.
So, Paul sought the Lord on his friends’ behalf. He prayed that God would increase their love for God, for one another, and for Paul. Although Hollywood defines love as blind, godly love thrives in an atmosphere of truth. Paul asked God to increase their love “in real knowledge and all discernment” (Philippians 1:9). Real knowledge comes through God’s Word, and the Holy Spirit provides Christians with discernment—the ability to distinguish good from evil.
Paul prayed for the Philippians so that they would recognize and pursue the things that please God (1:10). Obedience to God begins in the mind. The thought-life of Christians often determines their actions. Later in this letter, Paul highlighted the excellent ideas that should fill the Philippians’ minds: “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things” (4:8). Christlike thinking and living will help believers to live holy lives until Christ returns.
Paul reminded the Philippians that God had already produced in them righteous fruit, and that their lives would bring God glory until Christ’s return. In Galatians 5:22–23, Paul defined the fruit of the Spirit—“love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” When the Holy Spirit invades a believer’s life and waters the seed provided by God’s Word, He produces these attributes, which reflect the character of God.
So if you want God to answer your prayers for fellow believers, model them after the prayers recorded in Scripture. Let’s start asking God to accomplish His plan recorded in His inspired, inerrant Word today!
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