Summary: 1- Pray that you will be more loving 2- Pray that you will be more discerning 3- Pray that you will be more righteous
INTRO.- There is a difference between prayer and meditation.
ILL.- Two good old friends were meeting. "How are you and your family?" asks the one. "Oh we’re all fine". The other one answers, "We’re all healthy and are working. But how ’bout your son?? Is he still not working??" "Not at all", the first one answers, "He’s doing meditation now." "Meditation? What’s this? What is he doing?" "I don’t know it exactly," the first one answers again, "But I’m sure it’s better than just sitting down and doing nothing!" For some, meditating may be doing nothing.
ILL.- The story goes that Henry Ford once hired an efficiency expert to evaluate his company. After a few weeks, the expert made his report, which was highly favorable except for one thing. "It’s that man down the hall," said the expert. "Every time I go by his office he’s just sitting there with his feet on his deck. He’s wasting your money." "That man," replied Mr. Ford, "once had an idea that saved us millions of dollars. At the time, I believe his feet were planted right where they are now."
I don’t know what that man was meditating on, but it must have been something good according to Henry Ford since it was saving him money.
That’s not bad meditation. I think it pays to think before you spend money, yours and anybody else’s money!
Meditation can be a good thing, but it depends on the object of your meditation. If you are meditating on nothing, what good is that? Or even if you are meditating on say the blue sky, what good will that do a person? The sky does not influence the human spirit. We might appreciate a pretty blue sky but it can’t affect our inner being spiritually. It may only remind us that God created it. But the sky is not the same as the Spirit of God.
The other side of the coin is that if we meditate on something that is godly, it can make a big difference in our lives.
ILL.- For example, some of my best times (other than prayer or when I’m ministering to people) is when I am studying scripture and working on sermons. Why? BECAUSE I AM MEDITATING ON THE MESSAGE OF GOD FROM SCRIPTURE. And that’s a good thing! It’s a very good thing. It does you some good but it does me a world of good! It does my heart and my inner being much good. The person who teaches or preaches always gets more than his audience.
Any time we meditate on the things of God or the will of God or the scripture, it will affect our spirit in a positive way.
Prayer, of course, is different than meditation. Prayer is talking to God. And this is something that we desperately need even though it seems to be a one-sided conversation. I guarantee you, however, that God is listening very closely to every word you speak to Him!
Matthew 7:11 “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”
If God is willing to give to you then He is definitely willing to listen to you!
PROP.- There are many things we should pray about but Paul zeros in on some important spiritual matters.
1- Pray that you will be more loving
2- Pray that you will be more discerning
3- Pray that you will be more righteous
I. PRAY THAT YOU WILL BE MORE LOVING
9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight.
Our love needs to abound.
ILL.- The newlywed wife said to her husband when he returned from work, "I have great news for you. Pretty soon, we’re going to be three in this house instead of two." Her husband ran to her with a smile on his face and delight in his eyes.
He was glowing with happiness and kissing his wife when she said, "I’m glad that you feel this way since tomorrow morning, my mother is moving in with us."
A husband’s love would certainly need to abound if he found out his mother-in-law was moving in! More people means more love is needed.
ILL.- Someone wrote: "There is nothing that makes us love a man so much as prayer for him.”
I don’t not how much or how often I’ve prayed for my love to grow for others, but it’s something that should be done. And it’s true that the more we pray for others, the more we will love others.
Generally, if you don’t like someone you won’t pray for them. But if you do start praying for them your attitude toward them will change. Prayer must grow for our love for others to grow.