Reader: “Every time I think of you,”
Response: “I give thanks to my God.”
Scripture: Philippians 1:3-11
Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now. And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.
So it is right that I should feel as I do about all of you, for you have a special place in my heart. You share with me the special favor of God, both in my imprisonment and in defending and confirming the truth of the Good News. God knows how much I love you and long for you with the tender compassion of Christ Jesus.
I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God.
Reader: “The word of the Lord.”
Response: “Thanks be to God.”
This passage from Philippians is unique in light of these daily devotionals for Paul’s words could be my very own. When I think of the 800 plus of you who are part of this daily encounter with the Scriptures, I thank God for the part you play in helping to grow God’s kingdom. Many of you share or pass along God’s word to others. We are spreading the Good News. God is working in all of our lives. In Paul’s words, “You have a special place in my heart!”
If you are like me, when I pray for loved ones and friends, I’m not always sure what to pray. There is the general “bless them,” but I think there needs to be more than that. Paul gives me great help in the last part of this passage. Let’s look at his praying for his friends and what he says. We can pray that our friends’ love may overflow more and more toward all those around them as they reflect Christ’s love. Second, we can pray that they grow in knowledge and understanding in their walk with Christ. Pray that they will understand what really matters in this life so they can live pure and blameless lives until Jesus returns. We can pray that they be filled with the fruit of salvation, that is righteous character which is the result of Christ’s work within them. When that happens God is glorified, the very purpose of our being here on earth. I thank Paul for helping me know how to better pray for you all.
Prayer is a powerful living dynamic that transcends time and space. It is not simply a Christian task to be checked off. Rather, it is a means of drawing together a living subversive community of a working Kingdom on this earth while in hostile territory. So when we pray for each other, we are cracking the stronghold of the evil one as we seek to undermine his slipping hold on this world. God desires to work in and through his people. As we pray, we invite his action in the lives of his people. Don’t ever underestimate your prayers for your brothers and sisters.
Music: “Sweet Hour of Prayer” Radiance (You may remember these guys from a few years ago. Outstanding,)
O Lord, in prayer I launch far out into the eternal world, and on that broad ocean my soul triumphs over all evils on the shores of mortality. In prayer I see myself as nothing; I find my heart going after thee with intensity and long with vehement thirst to live to thee. In prayer all things here below vanish, and nothing seems important but holiness of heart and the salvation of others. In prayer I can place all my concerns in thy hands, to be entirely at thy disposal, having no will or interest of my own. In prayer I can intercede for my friends, ministers, sinners, the church, thy kingdom to come, with greatest freedom, ardent hopes, as a son to his father, as a lover to the beloved. Help me to be all prayer and never to cease praying.
―The Valley of Vision, p.146