Prayer, Plain and Simple

“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 may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ.” (Philippians 1:9-10)

Years ago Tom Peters published a popular business leadership book titled In Search of Excellence. Perhaps you read it. Peters set out to define excellence in the marketplace and then to identify enterprises that met that standard. It was not an easy search. More recently Jim Collins has picked up the quest. In his books Built to Last and Good to Great, he has not only set the benchmark metric for excellence, he outlines a roadmap to match that quality ourselves. 

How to get to excellence? The Bible has another route: Prayer. 

Our human efforts always end in failure. Eventually we find we are not strong enough, smart enough, nimble enough, or persuasive enough to neither create nor sustain excellence. God has made the world this way. As Jesus puts it, “Apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15)

Paul’s brilliant prayer is packed with power. We can borrow his words and make it our prayer for our work and business. Let’s do that today. 

Pray for love. Love is not a concept, a feeling or a choice. Ultimately, Love is a Person… Love Himself… Pray for more Love, to be passionately engaged with your calling and with the people in your spheres.

Pray for knowledge – the “smarts” to grasp the nuances required to master your responsibilities: good memory, clear logic, quick assessments. Under-standing means, literally that matters “stand under” my mastery.

Pray for discernment – a miraculous capacity to distinguish truth from illusion. God can install his “truth detector” beyond knowledge. Ask for it!

Pray for excellence and the capacity to build, recognize and reward it! God loves what is “good.” When he created, he stepped back and said, “Very good!” Pray for the same, to be able to generate works of excellence and to step back and call it “good!”

Love… Knowledge… Discernment… Excellence. Let God bless the “work of your hands” by borrowing these words in prayer over the specifics of your spheres of responsibility. As you do, monitor your own heart and circumstances. What happens? 

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