“I thank my God every time I remember you.In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now,being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
How do you start a letter? Do you start by talking about yourself and what’s happening, or do you start with a prayer for the person who will receive that letter?
Paul gave us a wonderful example of what prayer should look like. He thanked God whenever he thought of his friends in the places he visited. Remembering his friends brought a profound sense of gratitude to God. Do you think this when you think of your friends?
Not only was Paul grateful for his friends but his prayers were filled with joy because of their work for the gospel. Wow! When I think about prayer, it often seems like the lists are so long and the burdens so great that joy is difficult to find. Not so with Paul. His joy in the knowledge that the work of Christ continues needs to pervade our prayers as well.
Are you struggling with dark times, difficult relationships, health issues? Are your friends overwhelmed with life trials? Pray with joy for them. Joy that they are able to keep going in Christ despite the trials. Joy that God will use their life experiences to help others, to draw others to himself.
The Philippian church was growing but there were still issues that needed work, yet Paul could still pray with joy for them and their efforts. Why? Because he knew God was able to work it all out. We quote verse 6 often but do we believe it?
God has begun a good work in you. He began it even before you were created in your mother’s womb. Psalm 139 reminds us that God knew us and had plans for us. The good work he began in you will be completed. Do you believe this?
Sometimes our lives just feel too overwhelming to bear. How can God use us when we are such a mess? But God. But God is carrying out his plan in you even when you can’t see it. He is making your life into a message for others. If you don’t believe it, just keep going and he will show you.
A number of years ago, my life seemed too hard to bear. Tears flowed all day long and I didn’t know how things could get better. Fast forward. Today, I get to write each day. I get to thank God for you and your part in his plan and purpose. I get to rise up each morning, knowing that he is completing his plan in me and he will do it in you.
Today, take some time to pray with joy for all of your friends, remembering that God is doing a work in each of them, and his is faithful and will complete it.