A Prayer for Wisdom
Submitted by Debbie’s Dad
And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. Philippians 1:9-11 (NASB95)
In today’s verse, Paul opens his epistle to the believers at Philippi, dear friends he had not seen for a decade and yearned to see again. Paul was about 800 miles away, in a Roman Jail in chains. Yet he wanted the believers at the churches in Philippi to know how he loved them and how he prayed for them.
In the verses preceding these 3 verses, Paul tells them he thanks God whenever he remembers them and joyfully prays for them constantly (verse 3). Paul has them in his heart and affectionately longs for them (verses 7 and 8). He even considers them co-participants to share the Gospel message (verse 5).
After those introductions, He tells them what he is praying for them in verses 9-11—he prays for three things:
First, He Prays for Abounding Love in Wisdom
Paul prays that their love will abound (overflow) because of their growing personal knowledge (Greek epignosis, a much-used word in the New Testament) of God, and their insight [Greek aisthēsis – this is the only use of this word in the New Testament) into His Ways. This is true wisdom – to know God and his ways! The world will know us by our love – a love founded in wisdom – knowing God personally and knowing His ways.
Next, He prays for Fruitfulness.
This love will enable us to discern the best things to do and live sincerely and blamelessly. We will be tested, and we must determine what to choose, how to respond, what to avoid, what will glorify God, and what will grieve Him. This is a lifelong challenge to remain sincere and pure in all we do. As Paul emphasizes – “until the day of Christ.” And this life will produce righteous fruit (most are listed in the well-known passage in Galatians 5:22–23.
Finally, He prays for the Best Result.
The goal of this kind of wisdom, love, and discernment is the glory and praise of God. Our lives can produce 2 results of eternal value: 1) we can glorify God or reveal His character in our lives, and 2) we can bring praise to God by our life- redeemed from sin and willfully living in His love, discernment, and righteous living.
The Essence of His Prayer
Looking at these three elements of Paul’s prayer in reverse, we see that he was praying for a result (God’s glory) by means of their pure, blameless, and fruitful life – all based on the wisdom of knowing God and the discernment of His ways.
Paul’s prayer applies to us too as we grow in wisdom, abound in love, bear spiritual fruit, all to the glory and praise of God.