Posted by: Heather | September 17, 2008

We should pray like this

I was reading through Paul’s prayer for the Philippian church and wanted to jot down some of my thoughts. Here is the passage I am looking at,

Php 1:3 I thank my God upon all my remembrance of you,
Php 1:4 always in every supplication of mine on behalf of you all making my supplication with joy,
Php 1:5 for your fellowship in furtherance of the gospel from the first day until now;
Php 1:6 being confident of this very thing, that he who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ:
Php 1:7 even as it is right for me to be thus minded on behalf of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as, both in my bonds and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers with me of grace.
Php 1:8 For God is my witness, how I long after you all in the tender mercies of Christ Jesus.
Php 1:9 And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and all discernment;
Php 1:10 so that ye may approve the things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and void of offence unto the day of Christ;
Php 1:11 being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are through Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.


The first thing I notice is that he thanks God for them whenever he remembers them. I think it would be a good idea to learn this habit. If we make it a habit to not only talk to God about everyone we think of, but to thank God for them, we can start off in a conversation with God and that will be productive for both us and them.

The second thing I notice is that he always prays with joy because of their fellowship (partnership) with him in the furtherance of the gospel. We need to develop partnerships with others for the furtherance of the gospel. (this is fleshed out a bit more in verses 9-11, I’ll get to that in a minute) At this point I would like to point out that this partnership is in the gospel. The message that is by God’s grace, not by my (or your) merit. So many of my partnerships are based on less important things, like my tastes or likes and dislikes. This partnership is based on a relationship with Christ. (I think of I John chapter 1:3-4 where John says he wrote the book so that they might have fellowship with God, and then he will have fellowship with them via that fellowship with God – this makes his joy complete)

Next I notice that because of this partnership, he prays with confidence that God will complete the work he has started. We are in a fierce and dangerous world, but we can pray with confidence that God will finish what he starts. Regardless of the obstacles in life, we can have confidence in God. This removes judgmental spirits from the relationship, too; as it is not my job to mature you. That is God’s and he will do it.
In addition; You can’t have that type of confidence in me, only in Christ. My life is full of unfinished projects.

He then says that it is right for him to have this joyful confidence because of the sweet fellowship they have together. He knows that they share in God ‘s grace whether in his defence of the gospel or in his affliction. We need to be partners in prayer for the furtherance of the kingdom, and for the trials we have. I think it is a mistake to struggle alone. Paul demonstrates the power that comes from this fellowship in suffering later when he describes his imprisonment and how he knows it is for the purpose of Christ being preached. (verses 12-18) I also think a key element in this part of the prayer is that Paul’s mind is off of himself.

Then we get to verses 9-11 where Paul describes his prayer for them. He says that he prays that their love (for God and others) will grow more and more in knowledge and insight. We serve the God we know. The better we know him, the more accurately we will serve him. The result of this growth of knowledge and insight in love is that they will be able to keep themselves pure and blameless until the day of Christ. This keeps us from error in our lifestyles, as we get a better street level knowledge of who God is. The natural result of this is a lifestyle of righteousness that comes from Christ. (not a counterfeit righteousness, like described in chapter 3)

The end result is the glory of God. I want to stop there for a minute. Glorify is not a word I use much in regular life. (kind of a religious word) But a word that we use that has the same thought is magnify. We magnify things two ways. With microscopes we magnify by making a big deal about something small. With telescopes we magnify by making far away things look more like they really are. The second is the idea we are after here. If we are joyfully confident and selfless in our attitudes toward our brothers, we show how big God really is. As we love God based on accurate information and insight about him, we show him to be who he really is, and our lifestyles will be genuinely righteous rather than having artificial and hypocritical rules we follow. This glorifies or magnifies God.

What a prayer! And it can be prayed with confidence!

Craig

Advertisements

Responses

  1. Thanks for sharing, Craig.I love how clearly you explain scriptures and express your thoughts. It’s really helped me gain a better understanding on a lot of these passages.

  2. So different from the mindless list of ‘wants’ I sometimes rattle off. I also recall someone once saying that if we are putting our heart into praying thankfully for others, there is a lot less chance of contention within the church family. It is pretty hard to fight with someone when you just finished telling God you appreciate them 🙂~H


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: