“I pray that your love will overflow more and more,
and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding.
For I want you to understand what really matters,
so that you may live pure and blameless lives
until the day of Christ’s return.
May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation
—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ–
for this will bring much glory and praise to God.”
Philippians 1:9-11 NLT
These verses grabbed hold of my heart while I was reading the other day. And instantly I knew these are the verses I want to use while praying for my nieces and nephews. Even my son. For they say so much if you slow the words down and read them bit by bit.
We all know the greatest commandment is to love. It’s what really matters. And when you live with the love of Christ, you crave more knowledge and understanding of what really matters, too.
(The ESV, ASV, and NKJV versions use the word discernment rather than understanding and I think that might encapsulate what Paul was intending more clearly.)
To “live pure and blameless lives…” sounds like something we should all strive for, doesn’t it. I must confess I have a hard time with this phrase as it feels to me that one must be perfect to achieve it. And I am far from perfect. I don’t expect my nieces, nephews, or my son to be perfect, either. So I dug a little deeper.
Friends, Paul is not telling us to strive for perfection. He’s still talking about love. We are what our heart feels, after all. That’s what God sees when He looks at us. And if our heart is one filled with a true desire for Christ, He will pour His love upon us. And our hearts will prove to be pure. Blameless.
For love is the only perfect thing in this world. It never fails (I Cor 13:8). And if our hearts are filled with it, there is no stopping us.
Read these verses again, this time in the Message translation:
So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish
and that you will not only love much but well.
Learn to love appropriately.
You need to use your head and test your feelings
so that your love is sincere and intelligent,
not sentimental gush.
Live a lover’s life, circumspect and exemplary,
a life Jesus will be proud of:
bountiful in fruits from the soul,
making Jesus Christ attractive to all,
getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God.
Friends, this is exactly what I want to pray when I’m praying for our children. Why, this is what we should pray for everyone on our prayer list. But today, I will focus on my nieces and nephews. And so I pray:
Father, I look at my nieces and nephews and see You. For You have made them precious, unique, full of life and passion. What joy! Help them keep that, Lord. Nourish them in Your love, Father, so they will know what true love looks like. Guide us in how we should instruct them so they develop a deep desire to know You to the fullest. For then they will learn to love appropriately. They will be intelligent where it matters most. Their love-filled hearts will remain contagious. And Your glory and praise will be revealed. . .
How about you? Will you use these verses to pray for someone on your prayer list? Who? I’d love to hear.
Thanks for sharing your time with me.