Let love abound

During our times of intercession in the house of prayer you may often hear us reading ‘apostolic prayers’ - these are prayers straight out of books of the bible - written by the apostles.  Some of these prayers are explicitly ‘for’ the church as the day of the Lord approaches - so they’re not meant for an isolated historical situation, they’re meant for the whole church all the more as that day approaches!  Praying these biblical prayers builds faith in what we’re asking for, because when our prayers are rooted in God’s word they’re rooted in what He says He will do.  We learn to be bold as we learn to ask for what He has revealed to be on His heart.  

Recently I spent a number of weeks praying just one of these apostolic prayers, wrestling with what it asks of God and how it teaches us to pray.

And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
— Phil 1:9-11

The more I prayed for love, the more I was challenged not to take love for granted.  This isn’t the cry of someone who has run out of love… this is the prayer of someone who loves deeply and recognises that God’s love is (always!) so much more.  Precisely because we receive grace without having to earn it, we can easily take it for granted as though it were always there.  Love, poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, is chief among the graces that God pours out into our lives day by day.  But I wonder how many of us daily pray for love?  For more love?  How many of us remember to come back to the source and to ask for what we don’t deserve and can’t live without?  

These questions cut to my heart, because so often I’m satisfied with what is within my reach.  I lower my vision and hope for the church, for God’s work in the church, because it seems so impossible and unrealistic to do otherwise.  There’s a real heartache in longing to see the Church mature into who she is called to be.  But Paul has such a clear vision of the Church as God has called her to be, he can’t be satisfied with what’s within reach of our human resources!  Even when things are going great - there’s more!  Paul doesn’t have time to be disappointed or discouraged by the state of the church because the more he prays for her the more he loves her!  

So what does Paul pray for?  For knowledge and discernment.  For revelation!  As we encounter God and wrestle with His word, we learn the truth about love.  We learn to love in truth, by His grace.  As we grow in knowledge of God, as we test the spirits, and as we discern the way He is leading us… we abound in love.  In the person of God there cannot be a division of truth and love.  To know Him is to love Him.  

The more we pray the more we love, and the more we love the more we pray.  In an age of so much counterfeit love, we can’t afford to loose sight of the One who calls us to something completely beyond our own imaginations of love.  We need to have a vision of the church and of God’s work in the world that captures our hearts and gets us praying each day… Don’t start with where you are up to now.  Look to see what God has set his heart upon and be bold to ask Him to fulfil the desires of His heart!  Commit yourself again today to pray for the church. 

Join us as we pray for the Church today, that God would continue to pour out His love into all our hearts by His Spirit still more and more.