CONFIDENT PRAYER: Prayer is not just a series of desperate pleas that God would do this or that, rather v6 says that it's an expression of confidence that God will complete what He began in you. That means that prayer has value even if it doesn't seem like God is giving you the answers you asked for; even the process of coming to Him in prayer in the first place builds your confidence because it reminds you of what Jesus has already done for you.
THE PURPOSE OF YOUR LIFE IS (DRUMROLL PLEASE...) - Unfortunately, most people go through life with no discernable purpose. Is it any wonder then why there is so much angst and un-contentedness in society? Verses 9-11 define the purposes you should be living for:
GAIN KNOWLEDGE THAT LEADS TO LOVE: One of the primary goals in your life must be to know more and more about who God is, what He has done and is doing, and how Christ saved you (v9).
'SO THAT' KNOWLEDGE: As opposed to 'so what' knowledge. 'So that' knowledge doesn't just stay trapped between your ears, rather it's expressed as love and helps you discern (to test & approve, like Romans 12:2) what is best for your life to prepare you for either your going home to Christ or His return here.
BE FRUITY: We often talk about be given 'righteousness' from Christ as if it's only purpose is to be a ticket that makes us acceptable to God, but here we're reminded that righteousness fills us with fruit - benefits for living here and now. Can you think of another passage where Paul compares these benefits to fruit? (Gal 5:22)
PAUL'S PURPOSE DRIVEN LIFE: Paul goes on to give immediate application on how living according to the purposes mentioned in v9-11. As he writes this, he's wasting away in prison and he's failing physically. Yet because he has a clear purpose for living, he can see that whether he lives or dies, these purposes will be fulfilled. Even as he's locked up in a dungeon near death, living according to these purposes helps him realize he's in a no-lose situation!
AAA Prayer Tips:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: God, our Father (v2) who began a good work in you and will see it to completion (v6)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Ask God for the strength to conduct yourself in a manner worthy of Christ (v27)
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:
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