Prayer — it can help you
live with Love and Wisdom

Why - Prayer is a Valuable Activity:  One of the best things we can do is to pray for ourselves, and for each other.  We can pray for specific situations, and also for improving the general quality of our lives.  God wants us to pray more, so He can help us be more loving and wise in our thinking-and-actions, so He can supply us with what we need to be God's people and do God's work, trying to fulfill God's wonderful plan for our lives.   What and How?


What - God Commands You to Love:  Jesus tells each of us to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the most important commandment.  The second most important commandment is like it: Love your neighbor as you love yourself." {Matthew 22:37-39, GNB}*

How - God Helps You to Love:  The first commandment, to fully love God, is the solid faith-foundation that lets God supply you with the abilities you need when you're doing the second commandment, so you can love other people more effectively.

* This page assumes a Christian worldview, but this is similar to a more general Judeo-Christian worldview.   {worldviews and worldview-overlaps in education and living}


Why - The Problem of Sin:  Why do you need help?  In a Judeo-Christian worldview, you have sinned whenever you could have “done it better” — in loving God and loving people — with your thinking and/or actions.  None of us can meet the high expectations & standards of God, so "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23, NASB, NIV)"   Your sins, and mine, occur throughout everyday life.  For example, Paul tells us (1 Corinthians 13:4-5) that "Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged."  Whenever you do (in your thinking and/or actions) anything "love is not," you are sinning.  God wants you to avoid sin-mistakes, and to learn from all experiences in life, including the sinful mistakes of yourself and others.


The Practical Value of Prayer — Why, What-and-How

You, Me, and Us:  Above and below, I'm writing for "you" but it's also for “me” and “us”, for any Christian and (in some ways but not others, in some situations) for people who currently seem to be, or actually are, non-Christians.


This overview-summary begins above with basic ideas about Why-What-How:

Why - You need God's help because your thinking-and-actions are often sinful and you should want to “do it better” in your present and future.

What - God commands you to fully love God and love people.

How - God can help you love more fully & effectively.


What and How?  God wants to help you...

• Live More Fruitfully:  In John 14-17, Jesus describes relationships within the tri-une God (between Father, Son, Holy Spirit) and of God with abiding disciples.  He says (in John 15:1,5, NASB), "I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. ... Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me."   {or "I am the real vine, and my Father is the gardener. ... Remain united to me, and I will remain united to you. ... you cannot bear fruit unless you remain in me."}


In the rest of this page you'll find:  What-and-How Divine Supply (prayers for love and wisdom) — Relationships with God and People - Golden Rule with EmpathyGod's Wonderful Plan for Your Life - The What-and-How of TransformationFollowing the Leading of God


What and How?  God wants to help you...


• Improve Your Understandings of others (with empathy) and self (with self-empathy), and God (by reading the Bible, praying, learning).  When you understand others better, you can more effectively treat them the way they want to be treated, in a Golden Rule with Empathy.

• Improve Your Performing and/or Learning:  God can help you improve your performing (so you can live-and-love better now, in the present) and your learning (so you can live-and-love better later, in the future).   {Performing and/or Learning and/or Enjoying}

• Learn More from Life:  As an educator and a Christian, I find it useful to view life as educational drama with goal-directed challenges (that occur when you don't understand, or don't know what to do) that are divinely designed opportunities to learn-from-life so you can "live-and-love better later" in your future.  God wants you to learn more from your life-experiences so He interacts with you in ways that are analogous to interactions with a skillful (human) teacher but are better, although less obvious.  Like a good teacher, God can — if you're "listening" carefully while living by faith — guide you with questions & answers, and reflection requests (calling attention to "what can be learned"), and adjusting the level of challenge and providing formative feedback.   {more about divine guiding}   {my web page - about using prayer - for educators}

[[ and there will be more ideas about each topic ]]



Divine Supply — Prayers for Love and Wisdom

How does God supply us with what we need for productive living?  In John 14-17, Jesus describes relationships within the tri-une God (between Father, Son, Holy Spirit) and of God with abiding disciples.  He says (in John 15:1,5, NASB), "I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. ... Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me."

We constantly need love and wisdom, usually for the little everyday things that (when all blended together) are the core of our lives, and occasionally for big decisions and actions.  God's abundant supplying of love and wisdom is a theme in two prayers of Paul:

    My deep feeling for you all comes from the heart of Christ Jesus himself.  I pray that your love will keep on growing more and more, together with true knowledge and perfect judgment, so that you will be able to choose what is best.  Then you will be free from all impurity and blame on the Day of Christ.  Your lives will be filled with the truly good qualities which only Jesus Christ can produce, for the glory and praise of God.  { Philippians 1:8-11, Good News Bible }
    We ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will, with all the wisdom and understanding that his Spirit gives.  Then you will be able to live as the Lord wants and will always do what pleases him.  Your lives will produce all kinds of good deeds, and you will grow in your knowledge of God.  May you be made strong with all the strength which comes from his glorious power, so that you may be able to endure everything with patience.  { Colossians 1:9b-11, GNB } { A context for these prayer requests is in verses 12-23. }

These prayers {with other translations below} can serve as focal points for our requests and as points of departure for other prayers, both general and specific, with variations of their main themes.  You can pray the prayers for others (as did Paul) and also for yourself.  God will be faithful in answering our requests for healthy spiritual vitality, because this is what He wants for us.

During times of abiding meditation it can be edifying to think about Paul's portrayals of spiritual health, as in these two prayers and elsewhere, including "fruit of the spirit":  "When the Holy Spirit controls our lives he will produce this kind of fruit in us:  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control." { Galatians 5:22-23, Living Bible }

What often limits a divine supplying of love and wisdom?



Relationships with God and People

The diagram below is a reminder of the important connections in your life:  The first, and most important, is your relationship with God.  The second is the interpersonal relationships between you and other people, both Christians and non-Christians.  You can pray for each of these three life-connections, and for the other five relational connections: of Christians with God and with each other, of non-Christians with God and with each other, and between Christians and non-Christians.

When your foundational relationship with God is whole, when you have said "yes" to God so you have the potential for a full relationship (indicated by a full connection between yourself and God, when you fully love God) and you are using this opportunity to fully abide in Christ, God can supply what you need for living an obedient Christian life, for obeying – in attitudes and actions – the commandments to love God and love your neighbor.


Golden Rule with Empathy

When you're trying to "love your neighbor as you love yourself" you can live the Golden Rule — "do for others what you want them to do for you" (Matthew 7:12, GNT) — in ways that combine kindness with empathy, by treating others in ways THEY want to be treated, which may differ from what you would want.*  Treating others this way will be beneficial for them, and also for you (especially in the long run), in a wide variety of situations.

* But it doesn't really differ, if we look more deeply.  Why?  You want others to empathetically understand you, and then treat you the way you want to be treated.  Other people also want this, so each of us should Seek First to Understand (with Habit 5 in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People) and then use the Golden Rule.



God's Wonderful Plan for Your Life

What is the plan?  How do you live it?

The Wonderful Plan:  A modern summary of the Gospel – the Four Spiritual Laws – explains, in Law 1, that "God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life."  How can you take advantage of this opportunity?  You can say YES to God, accepting His gracious offer of a better life, by repenting (by changing the way you think), by telling God to "Take control of the throne of my life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be."  Law 4 emphasizes that "Just to agree intellectually that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that He died on the cross for our sins is not enough. Nor is it enough to have an emotional experience. We receive Jesus Christ by faith, as an act of the will."  Living by faith requires continuing acts of will, which Law 4 illustrates by comparing two kinds of lives:  In a Self-Directed Life, "Self is on the throne."  This is contrasted with a Christ-Directed Life, when "Christ is in the life and on the throne; Self is yielding to Christ… [and] Interests are directed by Christ, resulting in harmony with God's plan."

The Kingdom of God:  Jesus often talked about The Kingdom of God, telling us to "seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness" as our central goal in life.  When you have Christ "in the life and on the throne [as your King]" because while living your daily life you are obediently doing what your King wants, you are participating in The Kingdom of God on two levels, as a person and as part of the church.  Individually, you are making God the king of your life in daily living.  And if you are being directed by Christ, you will want to participate in the Church, in the community of Christ-followers who acknowledge that God is their king, so they are serving Him with their hearts and minds, decisions and actions, with their feeling, thinking, and behaving.


The What-and-How of Transformation

In Romans 12, Paul describes the What-and-How of a Christ-Directed Life:

What?  Living every day with your thinking-and-actions dedicated to serving God.

How?  Doing the life-actions wanted by God requires an attitude of wanting to be personally transformed in the ways wanted by God.

As described in Romans 12:1-2 {GNB},

    "[what] Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to his service and pleasing to him.  This is the true worship that you should offer.  [how] Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind.  Then [what] you will be able to know the will of God — what is good and is pleasing to him and is perfect,"

and then (how) by obedient acts of your will, (what) you do these thoughts-and-actions because you have "[offered yourself] as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to his service."


Transformation requires Cooperation

In the supplying of love-and-wisdom from God to me, so I can participate more fully in the Kingdom of God, too often the limiting factor is my lack of cooperation, when I'm not totally willing to "let God transform me."  Sometimes I don't "hunger and thirst for righteousness {Matthew 5:6}" and don't want to live totally "dedicated to his service."  This is my own confession, but a lack of cooperation is a common human weakness.  Our approach to living should be like that of Jesus who (when He was living on earth 2000 years ago) was able to live without sinning by "remaining in perfect communion with the Father and in subjection to him, so the Father [through the Holy Spirit] could guide him continuously." (quoting Peter Rust)



Following the Leading of God

I.O.U. - This section needs to be developed more thoroughly;  later it will be expanded into a full page.  Eventually it will describe, more clearly and thoroughly, analogies (with similarities and also differences) between leading-and-following in ballroom dancing and in daily living when the Holy Spirit “leads us” so we can live more effectively as followers of Christ.  Here is a rough-draft summary of some basic ideas:


Yes or No:  Many times during each day we can try to understand what God wants us to do, and decide whether to obey or disobey.

Humility in Obedience:  Sometimes the leading of God is clear.  But many times during life it's difficult to KNOW for certain "what God wants us to do," so a reasonable goal is TRYING OUR BEST to understand His will, and to obey.  As described above, we should try to "remain in perfect communion" with God and "in subjection to Him."     { We should do this "trying" with humility, not with a prideful attitude that would, for example, occur if we view ourselves as being in competition with other people to win a “most obedient follower” award. }


To follow well, we must WANT to follow well.  Then, if we are motivated by our love for God and people, so we are sincerely trying to follow the leading of God, we can ask “how?”

How can we know what God wants us to do, so we can follow His leading?  Some principles, useful for all situations in life, for everything we do, are described earlier in this page:

    • in the contrast between a Self-Directed Life and a Christ-Directed Life within your own personal "kingdom of God", plus what-and-how in Romans 12, and a limiting factor (when we don't want to cooperatively follow, when a Christian temporarily returns to a Self-Directed Life);
    • and in the prayers of Paul asking God to spiritually supply us with love and wisdom.

• And of course we should read the Bible, to learn general principles for living.


Some practical principles for trying to understand the will of God in specific situations, and obediently following the leading of God, will be examined in Following the Leading of God.






Why do we need a divine supply of love and wisdom?  One possibility is...

Life as Educational Drama

Is there proof for the existence and activities of God?  and if not, Why isn't God more obvious?

These questions motivated me to write a web-page that concludes with speculations about The Drama of Life.  We are the actors & audience, and (along with God) the co-authors of our own scripts for living, for the ways that we (by our thinking and attitudes, decisions and actions) affect what happens, with significant real-life consequences for ourselves & others.  Our experiences, and our responses, produce the drama.  Why would God create life with drama?  My response, which is speculative because "none of us fully understands the ‘why’ of God, in His purpose for our lives," is that maybe "the drama performs an essential educational function, helping us learn how to live by faith and giving us opportunities to ‘practice’ so we can improve this valuable skill through our dramatic experiences with faith-based living."


Different translations can offer useful insights for Paul's prayers in Philippians and Colossians:

I pray "that your love may abound yet more and more and extend to its fullest development in knowledge and all keen insight — that is, that your love may [display itself in] greater depth of acquaintance and more comprehensive discernment;  so that you may learn to sense what is vital, and approve and prize what is excellent and of real value." { Philippians 1, Amplified Bible }

We pray "that you might be filled with all spiritual wisdom and insight so as to understand His will clearly, and to live in a way worthy of the Lord and to His entire satisfaction, by producing results in all sorts of good work, and by growing in the knowledge of God.  We pray that you may be invigorated with complete power in accordance with His glorious strength, for the cheerful exercise of unlimited patience and perseverance." { Colossians 1, Revised Berkeley Version }

We pray "that you may be filled with the full (deep and clear) knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom [in comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of God] and in understanding and discernment of spiritual things; That you may walk (live and conduct yourselves) desiring to please Him in all things, bearing fruit in every good work and steadily growing and increasing in (and by) the knowledge of God — with fuller, deeper and clearer insight, acquaintance and recognition." { Colossians 1, Amplified Bible }


Adam and Jesus — Problem and Solution

A lack of cooperation (because we don't really want God to "transform" us) is the basic human sin, beginning with Adam.  Paul describes a problem and solution, by contrasting the disobedience of Adam with the obedience of Jesus: "as through one transgression [by Adam] there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness [by Jesus] there resulted justification of life to all men." {Romans 5:18, NASB}

Adam rebelled against the guiding of his conscience by God (thus disobeying God's command that "you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil") and in doing this Adam sinned.  By contrast,

Jesus, when He joined us by living on earth, was able to live without sin because He is part of the triune God - Father, Son, HolySpirit.  Jesus temporarily gave up some of His divine powers during His life on earth, but He was able to live with total effectiveness (to fully achieve the purpose of His incarnation, including His obedient death on the cross) because he cooperated by "remaining in perfect communion with the Father and in subjection to him, so the Father [through the Holy Spirit] could guide him continuously."*  This way of living well — by achieving & maintaining a relationship of loving communion with God, and a humble attitude of obedient subjection to God — is the goal of dedicated Christian disciples, in our efforts to keep Christ "on the throne" for all thoughts-and-actions of daily living.    {*quoting Peter Rüst}


Abiding and Asking

I.O.U. - Later this section, based on the final verse below, will explain how "yes, this is a prosperity verse" but not in a typical greed-motivated "prosperity gospel" message.  I'll quote ideas from Abide in Christ (by Andrew Murray) who explains that if you're truly abiding, God will motivate you to ask for what God wants you to do, in a Christ-on-the-throne living of your life.  /  (also, quote Steve Gregg from Nov87.pdf)

"I am the Vine, and you are the branches.  Whoever lives in me and I in him bears much fruit.  However, apart from me – cut off from vital union with Me – you can do nothing. ...  If you live in me – abide vitally united to Me – and My words remain in you and continue to live in your hearts, ask whatever you will and it shall be done for you." { John 15:5 & 7, Amplified Bible }


Sins of Comission (1 Corinthians 13) and Omission (Galatians 5:22-23)


Relationships within the Tri-Une God:  I.O.U. - Somewhere in the page, probably in an appendix, I'll write a summary-paragraph describing divine intra-relationships (between persons of the triune God - Father, Son, Holy Spirit) by quoting-and-paraphrasing from John 14-17.



I.O.U. - Below, in this gray box, are ideas that might be developed-and-used later, in July.


what -- sin definition, could have "done better" in thinking/actions, re: 1 Cor 13 (ARE, even partially, not totally not-jealous,...), Gal 5 (ARE NOT totally)

in our interactive relationships with other people. // God can supply what we need for spiritual transformation, and for the continual empowering that He provides for a purpose, to equip us for His service, bringing glory to God by joyfully doing what He commands

intro for prayer of Paul in Col 1, constantly praying for spiritual health/vitality of others

goal of education -- to make us better, mc-pr.htm etc (ws#mclshow, dpmo#emrel

How? — Process (DTprocess-pages), Adam-versus-Jesus in terms of attitudes/actions (PeterRust) of submission/obedience with Christ on throne, HS30

What? - relationships, below

fruit = ? quality of your thinking-and-actions — because "the fruits of the [Holy] Spirit are..." and the results in lives of other people. / lives: own, other

A Promise and Command:  (+ brief quotes about it from the book "Abide in Christ" and elsewhere)

quotes - from p2 + quotes from 4 Laws/ Steve Gregg

Receiving ---- [[ main ideas from "Divine Supply" below, about "the vine" in John 15 , ----


A Problem-Solving Strategy for Using God's Prayer-Supplying

God's guiding questions & adjusting + reflection (read and imagine God as your teacher, guiding you with omniscient all-knowing wisdom for empathy / to help you "learn more" / -- adjusting + reflection (read and imagine God as your teacher, guiding you with omniscient all-knowing wisdom for empathy / to help you "learn more" To help you with God adjusting the level of difficulty and helping us

God wants you to learn more from your life-experiences so He "guides you" in ways analogous to those of a skillful teacher.


4 LAWS -- Abiding with better Motivations:  You can receive-and-use this divine supplying more effectively when you have better motivations, when in your daily living you put Christ (not self) "on the throne of your life" more often and more fully, with Christ-Directed Living. /


ROMANS 12 -- [[ What and How - Motivation and Transformation:  Paul explains (in Romans 12:1-2, GNT) that {what} God wants you to be a "living sacrifice" who is dedicated to serving-and-pleasing Him, because you have been letting God "transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind" so {what} "you will be able to know the will of God" and, with obedience-in-action, you will do "what is good and is pleasing to Him." for long-term "transformations" and short-term decisions of daily living


TWO PRAYERS -- and in Paul's two prayers. ]] #j15 and #p1c1

HS30 -- [[ Before each important daily action (e.g. a decision, phone call, email, conversation, etc) a friend prays for 30 seconds, asking Holy Spirit for guiding and wisdom.  He calls this HS30, but of course in some situations it could be HS1, HS10, HS100 or more, with different timings due to differences in the urgency, importance, and complexity of each situation. ]] Practice the Presence



If you like this page, you may also like these:
More thoughts about spiritual vitality are offered
by Andrew Murray in his classic book,
Wise Advice from Mother Teresa
"... It was never between you and them anyway."
Christian Education for Living a WorldView
( What is a Worldview? )
The important ideas in this page were contributed by Jesus and Paul.
These ideas were assembled, with introductions and comments added,
plus ideas from The Four Spiritual Laws, by Craig Rusbult.