22 July 2012

Praying for Character

Philippians 1:9-11

Paul's prayer for the Philippians is a petition for the following traits:
-love
-real knowledge
-all discernment
-sincerity and blamelessness
-filling with the fruit of righteousness.

It reminds me of how it is often more appropriate to pray for character rather than convenience. While Christ Himself did pray regarding circumstances, His focus did not sway from character either. At Gethsemane, He pleaded for release from the cross, but then also acknowledged His submission and remained obedient.

When I hear Mika and Coby pray, it shows me how I myself tend to pray for convenience when it would be more appropriate to pray for character. For example, "Please bless our trip" is a common prayer, but I think it would be better for us to pray for longsuffering and grace as we deal with all the headaches of traveling. Coby says, "Help my owie," and I think of when I'm suffering from something. I can ask for healing, yes, but I should also ask for patience, love, and joy.

So to practice this, I'm constantly remembering the fruit of the Spirit in prayer. When bringing something to God, I run through the list--love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control--and pray for attributes I need to deal with the situation. It helps me to realize how I need to behave and how I need to discipline myself while also asking God to outpour His grace in the form of that character trait.

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