Praying for Spiritual Growth 

Philippians 1:3-11

September 11th - 17th, 2016

Warm Up:  The Lord Jesus taught us as his followers to make prayer a consistent habit in our lives. He taught us to pray for our enemies, to pray in secret, and to present our real needs without repetitious words. A prayer-less life is often a sign of pride in us; a mark of self-sufficiency rather than dependence upon God’s power and work. Read Philippians 1:3-11 aloud. What impacts you most from Paul’s focus on prayer revealed in these verses?

  • The Apostle Paul’s prayer for the Philippians in 1:9-11 confronts our beliefs about life and happiness. Paul believed that his problems brought glory to God. His focus was on the work of God in his life and the lives of those he loved (see 1:6).
  • Do we believe, like Paul, that true spiritual growth is what brings true genuine blessing to a person’s life?” Why? What challenges you in this? 
  • Why might “understanding what really matters” lead to living a “pure and blameless life” (v.10)? 
  • ‘Agape” love is the supernatural love of God (1:9). It is sacrificial and unconditional. It is a willing choice and it doesn’t look for conditions to be met before begin given (see Romans 5:5). Paul prays that this kind of love would “abound” or “overflow” in our lives.
  • When you read verse 9 at face value do you think this love as the “agape” described above, or as being more emotional and experiential? Why is the distinction important?
  • What does it take to experience this kind of overflow?
  • Like the law of entropy, our ability to express divine love disintegrates unless we commit ourselves daily to the Spirit’s power; unless we stay connected to the Vine (John 15) as the source of our life and love. In 1:9, we see two words given to guide our overflowing love: Knowledge & Understanding. Given the definitions below, how do you feel you are growing in these areas right now? What do you sense the Lord may be asking of you? 
  1. Knowledge is knowing God from experience. This knowing comes from intimacy with another. The more we know God the stronger our love will be. 
  2. Understanding is our ‘spidey sense’ or perception of moral sensitivity. This is our ability to be discerning. Love grows wiser over time.  

Wrap Up:  Choose one area where you sense the need to grow in Agape. Pray in pairs for one another that knowledge and understanding would increase and that every person in your group would truly overflow in this kind of love.