This is the second course of our Phillipians meal. Enough with the food metaphors, right? Here are 4 externally focusing points of prayer I have overlooked in the first 4 verses of Phillipians 1, specifically in my prayers.
“Paul and Timothy, bond-servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all,”
Philippians 1:1-4 NASB
4 External Results of Mature Internalization
1. Fellowship in Servant-ship
Not only does Paul write as the mouthpiece for himself and Timothy, but he also describes them as bondservants.
We must begin to live lives that shout, “I won’t be separated from my God on His mission!”
He also goes on to explain his imprisonment and the way it has connected Paul’s own heart to theirs even more, especially through the prayers.
Paul says MY almost repeatedly in verses 1-4. Pay attention that he had already said he belongs to God as a bondservant of Christ Jesus. Now he is flipping it.
The prayer is to MY God. The ownership is describing Covenant.
Because God chose us, we are His. We are welcome to come to the Father.
He also uses “all MY memories”. This bleeds into verse 3 but it shows Paul’s control over his own thoughts. He is also reminding them and us of their nearness. These are families he spent time with and in the end, lasting memories.
The prayer is for “you all”. The letter is to all the saints. The idea develops later that he longs for them with the affection of Christ.
How many in your 50-200 member churches do you love in this way? I can’t say that the number would be large for me?
I should desire to expand my circle in love and therefore prayer.
I’m using average American standards for church sizes here. Mega churches are usually “mega” because they have social constructs that breakdown somewhere in this general framework.
But the issue is not numbers but depth and inclusiveness.
The nature we must fight against is closing ourselves into sects and cliques (regardless of small group settings or anything else) and choosing to pray for and enjoy fellowship.
The connection Paul makes from his remembrance of them is thankful prayer. He makes prayer offerings with joy. These are good memories making new, better memories as he covers them in prayer.
How often does our reminiscing lead us to prayer?
How often is Intercession our last resort?
Who can I pray for right now?
Who is someone from my past that God is working in and that makes me thankful for our times together?
You get the idea that news of Paul spreading throughout the whole Praetorian guard (which happens in later verses) is connected to his prayer. His joyful thanksgiving triggers his memories. These memories trigger prayers.
I want to embark on this kind of prayerful life today please God, in your son Jesus’ name, amen.