I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
Our prayers tell us a great deal about ourselves and about our view of those around us.
Paul and the Philippian believers enjoyed a partnership grounded in the gospel. Theirs wasn’t a static fellowship based on a little bit of common belief. Rather, it was a deepening friendship that blossomed as they continued “striving side by side for the faith of the gospel” and to “work out” their salvation “with fear and trembling” (Philippians 1:27; 2:12). The Philippians’ lives were marked by progression both in their relationship with Paul as their servant and their relationship with Christ as their Savior. Because of this partnership, Paul could be thankful, prayerful, and joyful.
If a church is to grow spiritually, the relationships among its people must be those of genuine thankfulness. Such gratefulness shouldn’t depend upon the perfection of others; we are all far from perfect. Indeed, our imperfections should fuel our prayers for each other! Even so, true, heartfelt thankfulness allows fruitful ministry to continue.
Paul’s partnership was reflected in Paul’s prayers. As he prayed for the Philippian believers, his prayers were comprehensive: “… in every prayer of mine for you all.” He didn’t just pray for those who were doing well or those who were in his inner circle; he prayed for everyone. We need to do the same! Indeed, if we pray for those who are often hardest to pray for, we will discover that they can actually become some of our best companions. We may even think they have changed, only to discover that we have changed, simply because we added prayerfulness to thankfulness.
Joyfulness comes as we partner in prayer with each other. Inevitably, some prayers involve pain. Our hearts ache as we get under the burden of our brothers and sisters who may be agonizing over their kids, their marriages, the loss of their jobs, their illnesses, or their bereavements. But at other times, instead of feeling like swimming against the tide, prayer can be like going with the waterfall as we rejoice together. When together we bring our situations, needs, and triumphs before the throne of grace, that fellowship brings joy. That’s how Paul felt about the Philippian believers. He prayed sorrowful and hopeful prayers alike with joy because of their shared partnership.
We can learn from Paul. He knew that fellowship with other believers could create thankful, prayerful, and joyful people. How are your prayers for those with whom God has brought you into gospel partnership going to reflect Paul’s prayers for the gospel partners in his life?
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Devotional material is taken from the Truth For Life daily devotional by Alistair Begg, published by The Good Book Company, thegoodbook.com. Used by Truth For Life with permission. Copyright © 2021, The Good Book Company.