Sunday, January 4, 2009

Thanksgiving & Prayer

"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." Philippians 1:3-6

It is interesting to me how God used Paul in such an amazing way during his time on earth. He became all things to all people in order that he might win some to Christ. He was a man who fearlessly preached the gospel, who continually asked God to increase his boldness in proclaiming the gospel, for which he was an ambassador in chains. He proclaimed the freedom in Christ to the Jews, and reflected the light of Jesus to the lost. He loved so greatly - not as the world today defines love; a mere warm feeling of affection, but in sacrificing the opinions of others on the alter of truth, so that all might repent of their sins and call Jesus the Lord of their life. These things and many other Godly characteristics are clearly communicated in his writings, but the thing that stands out the most to me as i read is that he was devoted to praying for the body of Christ.

Kinda hard to miss - nearly every piece of writing by Paul in the new testament has a portion devoted to thanksgiving and prayer within the first chapter. In Ephesians Paul writes:

"For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe." Ephesians 1:15-19a

Similar life-giving edification is found in Colosians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, 2 Timothy, Romans, 1 Corinthians, Philippians, & Philemon. Paul was clearly a man who prayed.

Paul prayed for the edification of the body of Christ - his fellow brothers in Christ, his life group, his Sunday School class, his friends and family back home where he grew up, his co-workers - presumably, Paul prayed for every person in whom he had relationship with - continually.

Do you pray like this?

I don't.

Should we? (rhetorical question...)

Lord Jesus, thank you for revealing yourself to us in Your word. Thank you for Paul and the way you greatly used him to boldly proclaim the gospel that has brought us life in You. Burden our hearts for one another, so that we would continually pray for one another, searching for ways to build one another up and strengthen each other as Your Church.

- as a side note, i write based on my observations from reading and from time with God. These entries are most assuredly NOT exhaustive on the topics for which I write, but are highlights on the things that God is making plain to me. If you have other insights that can be plainly drawn from the Word, please share them with me, so that i too can learn through what God has revealed in scripture. With each tour of the new testament, i have discovered that this Holy Book given to us will never be mastered by any. This is a great source of joy and hope for me, for God continues to us His Word to draw me to Him, so that I might explore and treasure the marvels of this Book, and equip myself for God's calling on my life... I digress... :)

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