Summary: Paul teaches us how to pray

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Philippians 1:9-12

Prayer is both the easiest and hardest discipline of the Christian life. It is the easiest in that the youngest child and the newest Christian can learn to pray. But prayer is also the hardest discipline because it is the most difficult to maintain over a long period of time. In a sense it is easy to enroll in the School of Prayer but hard to get a graduate degree.

Prayer is the very sword of the saints," …. "the Christian’s secret weapon, forged in the realms of glory." Why, then, do we not use it more effectively?

"Nothing lies outside the reach of prayer except that which lies outside the will of God."

Bobby Jones, champion golfer, once said, "Have you ever noticed how much golfers practice? Smart businessmen have been quick to take advantage of that, developing public driving ranges where we can practice driving the ball, & putting greens where we can practice our putting." Japanese condos with nets

"But why hasn’t someone developed public sand traps? Sand traps are an inevitable part of the game of golf, & every golfer ought to practice ahead of time how to get out of trouble." Work on the most neglected part of our game: PRAYER

Paul prayed for others. Most of the time we spend in prayer is for something rather than someone but not Paul.

The tense of the word "pray" as used by Paul emphasizes continual action.

This was not just a prayer Paul once prayed, but a prayer that he continually prayed. What did he pray for?

1:9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment,

1:10 so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ;

1:11 having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.


It was Paul’s desire that there would not be a lack of love on the part of these Philippian believers. He continually prayed that they have a heart filled with a love that overflowed. 1:9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment,

Paul was bound up in prison but love can never be confined. It can always be freely given.

A. Growing Love

He wanted their love to "abound." The word means to overflow. Described it as rising higher and higher. When spelled out literary it means "wave upon wave." SLITERBON GIANT BUCKET

Described it as a well shaken bottle of pop that spews in every direction. MENTOS

Paul’s was praying for a growing love. "Lord, let my love for God and others grow and grow and grow." Love more now than ever?

We should pray for a life with an overflowing love that gets bigger and bigger.

B. Guided Love

This love is to be guided by "knowledge" and “discernment."

Described as the banks that contain a rising river. The word that is used speaks of full knowledge. Someone who gathers all the facts and looks over them carefully.

Paul is asking that they love based on all the facts. He is saying that the heart should not rule the head. The head should rule the heart.

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Greg Nance

commented on Apr 25, 2009

Great job! I appreciate the insights and illustrations. Thanks for the good work. God bless.

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