“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.” (Philippians 1:9-11. NIV)
I sent this meditation out the first week of January this year and in the last month have had occasion to share it with two groups. It is timely to re-send it this long weekend for your consideration.
If I were to ask any Corpath member the question, “Is your business doing better or worse than this time last year?” I am pretty sure most of you would have a quick answer. If I followed your answer with another question, “How do you know?” Again, most of you would give me data from a system that you have devised to track business progress elements.
Some businesses use the balanced scorecard approach. They track the four areas of Finance, Customer Satisfaction, Internal Processes and Organizational Capacity and Knowledge. Others develop their own dashboard of metrics that, collected and reviewed over time, will tell them how they are doing.
Paul’s prayer for the new Christians in Phillipi was that their faith and love for each other would, “…abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight.” So, I could ask each of us, “Is your spiritual life, your knowledge, and depth of insight of faith and love of Christ, doing better or worse than this time last year?” And the other question would apply as well, “How do you know??
We spend lots of effort and discipline in tracking the business sphere in our lives. I think God would be pleased to see Christian business leaders of faith apply those same skill sets to track spiritual progress in their lives as well. This raises the issue of how does one track spiritual progress? Is it possible to develop a balanced or a set of dashboard metrics and procedures for faith development and prayer over time? I believe it is.
PRAYER TRACKING – Although I struggle to maintain my daily prayer journal, over the last 12 years I have been using the following systems of recording, in point form, the activities in my prayer life:
Use a SQUARE symbol whenever you petition God for a prayer request. Be as specific as you can.
Use a CIRCLE (the symbol of completion) when you receive an answer to prayer. Try to connect it in your journal to the date you recorded the prayer.
Use a TRIANGLE (the mathematical symbol for God or Trinity) to mark those times when you receive God inspired insights into life events or scripture meaning and application.
Use a STAR to signify those Epiphanies that God bestows upon you as you put effort into knowing him and his will. These may only happen every few months or only a couple of times a year. Reserve the star for more than just insightful moments, but truly significant moments or episodes of deep spiritual formation. If you seek them diligently, God’s promise is that they will come to you.
The real value of this system is the knowledge you gain, and the patterns of slow progress that you see in your prayer life as you go back periodically and review your entries under these symbols.
I try to review each month to see if prayers are being answered (and I give thanks for those), am I receiving and recording insights from God? Each Christmas break, I review my whole years’ journal and take a whole morning to record a summary of what God has done in my prayer life. This helps me set goals for the new year, and gives me confidence and clear examples of spiritual progress in my life. Why not start a journal now and review your entries at the end of 2017 to see what you might discover?
Next Week – Bible Reading
- Is your spiritual life better this year than last? How do you know?
- Do you approach regular prayer and bible reading as a duty, or as a joy?
Corpath – John Wiseman