Asking God for help with love.

Happy Monday, friend.

I realized that Paul’s letters, most of them, were written with people in mind. He knew them, or some of them, and as he looked at what they were facing, and listened to God, and started writing (or dictating), he was thinking about actual people.

And as I write, from time to time, I’m thinking about you. And you. And you. (I’m literally smiling as I type this, seeing your faces, and then starting to tear up.)

We’ve been rerunning some posts about prayer this month, and by now you are beginning to see that I’m thinking more and more about asking less and less of God. Less miraculous healings. Less divine smiting.

Instead, I thinking more and more about conversations with God about people and about their peace and hope and courage. About their relationships and their reconciliations and their refreshment.

So when Nancy pointed to words of Paul from the letter we read in chapel on Sunday, I want to share them with you.

Paul wrote to his friends in Philippi:

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may 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.

He’s aware of political strife and differences of opinion and tensions between classes of people. And he sees the faces of the people when he sits with God in his prison cell. (He remembers being in their town as a prisoner.)

And he doesn’t ask God to strike them dead. He doesn’t insult or denigrate or mock or belittle them. Instead, his request of God is that their love will grow and grow. And it will be the kind of love that understands the good more and more. And it will be the kind of love that spends little time “liking” what isn’t understood and abundant time understanding those who are not liked.

Ah friends, I care about you. I try to remember to talk with God about you. And when I do, I ask him to help you love.