Friday, 16 December 2022
“I thank my God in every remembrance of you, always offering every prayer of mine with joy [and with specific requests] for all of you” -Philippians 1:3-4 [AMP]
‘The Epistle of Joy’ – the letter to the Philippians, was written by the Apostle Paul from the confines of Roman imprisonment. How marvellous that this beloved servant of God while facing great personal trials and suffering, chained to prison guards all day could joyfully pray to the Lord for the saints, rather than bring his own sorrows and pain before God. This is the heart of a true disciple!
Paul’s concern for the spiritual maturity of the brethren at Philippi was greater than his own chains. Can we be like Paul count our own discomforts as insignificant, bearing our brethren in prayer? He sets us a pattern of prayer that we can all learn from.
Thanksgiving: Paul’s thankfulness was not just towards the brethren for their care and generous giving towards him, but more so to God for His goodness towards the Philippians. When we intercede for our brothers and sisters in Christ, let us be thankful to God for His calling upon their lives and for His power at work in them that strengthens them in faith (1 Thessalonians 3:9).
Joyful Petition: While happiness depends on outwards circumstances, joy is rooted in a complete trust in God. Paul’s prayer for the church was joyful – established in the confidence of God’s love towards them. A constant relationship with the Lord fills us with joy and builds up our faith; and this should be the attitude with which we approach the Lord in prayer. Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
United in Love: Paul prayed that their love towards God and to each other would abound. Deep overflowing love of God in our hearts results in a deeper knowledge and revelation of God, and also in our perceptions and discernment, being sensitive towards others, thus strengthening our fellowship. Let it be our prayer that ‘the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to each one of us a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.’ (Ephesians 1:17)
Living Holy Lives: In Mark 14:38 Jesus warns us to keep watch and pray, so that we will not give in to temptation. Living in a fallen world marked by worldly pleasures and sin, it should be our prayer that all the brethren will live pure and blameless lives that witnesses Christ to the world. Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass. (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24)
Fruitful Lives: ‘Being filled with the fruit of our salvation’ comes only from the deep abiding relationship with Christ. “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) Our personal walk with the Lord will result in an inner transformation bearing the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) and outwardly reflecting the love of Christ, drawing may to Him.
Our unity of love, spiritual maturity, blameless lives and fruitfulness should glorify God and reveal Him to the world. When we are able to pray such a powerful prayer for our brothers and sisters, we will see the mighty hand of God working in and through each one of us for the advancement of His Kingdom.
To Act on: Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. (Ephesians 6:18)