Prayin’ with Paul
Do you ever find that your Connect Group prayer sessions often end up starting with these sorts of prayer points?
“I’ve got an exam coming up…”
“I’m struggling with finances…”
“I’ve got a job interivew…”
Now don’t get me wrong. Got wants us to pray about things like this. Absolutely. But should we spend so much time praying about personal needs and struggles when we come together?
Last week in our small group we had a quick look at how Paul prays for the Christians in Philippi in Philippians 1.
1. He prays that their love might increase (vs. 9)
2. He prays that their love might lead to greater knowledge and insight (vs. 10a)
3. He prays that they might remain pure and blameless until the day of Christ (vs. 10b)
4. He prays that they might be filled with the fruit of righteousness – that is, that they might conduct themselves with holiness (vs. 11)
Paul’s prayers center on what he knows is truly important. He has his priorities in order. What good is a high mark on an exam if that person is not loving? What good is money without knowledge and insight? What good is a non-stressful life without the fruits of righteousness?
I don’t think that Paul does not care about the individual needs of his brothers and sisters in Philippi. I think that he cares greatly for each other them. However, his own spiritual walk has taught him what is truly important, and so he prays accordingly.
Myself and my co-leader have decided to briefly visit a different ‘Paul Prayer’ every so often in order to remind our group to get their priorities right.
What does your group pray for?
Do you have a certain way of praying?
*A brilliant book on this is Don Carson’s ‘A Call to Spiritual Reformation’ (Baker, 2002).