We completed The Pursuit of Joy teaching series this week. In this series we have been studying the book of Philippians. As we pointed out several times in this series, Paul wrote Philippians from prison. It’s a letter written to the church at Philippi and as you read it’s words you can’t help but notice the joy that was evident in Paul’s life and the joy he desires to see in the lives of those he is writing to. In examining some of the keys to Paul’s joy, we noted that one obvious truth was that he was concerned about others and was in the practice of praying on their behalf.
That’s what we see in Philippians 1:3-4:”I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy.” Then there is Philippians 1:9-11 “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.”
I want to zero in on one thing in that passage of scripture that is needed in all of our lives as followers of Christ and gives us a great example of the types of requests we can and should make on behalf of each other through prayer.
I want to call your attention back to verse 9. Paul begins by praying that their love would abound still more and more. Paul is not praying for them to start their love. The Philippi church showed their love for Paul by their support of him and his ministry. This was a church that was already doing pretty well. What he was praying for was for their love to grow and overflow, and spill over into the lives of others.
And it wasn’t just their love for others. Paul also wanted them to increase in their love of God. As Christ followers, our goal should be to love God and love people more tomorrow than we do today. To do that it needs to be a daily prayer request. And as long as God has us here on earth there will always be room for us to grow in our love. We will always need more love in our homes and in our churches. I’m thankful for the love that is displayed at Northstar. But, let’s make it our aim to increase our love for God and each other. And, let’s be in prayer for one another that our love will increase more and more and for our church that God will continue to have His hand on our ministries.
Paul’s prayer for the Philippians is a beautiful example to us of how we should be praying for one another. Do you want to energize your prayer life? Do you want to experience true joy? Follow Paul’s example and pray for your brothers and sisters in Christ that God would be glorified in their lives and in the lives of those far from the heart of God.
1. What are the references to prayer in verse Philippians 4:6. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.? How is prayer different from supplication? How does thanksgiving fit into making our prayers?
2. How often should we pray? Why is it that God hears our requests?
3. Read Paul’s Prayer for the church (Philippians 1:9-11). Summarize what he prays for. What part of the prayer do you want someone to pray for you? Why?
4. What part of the prayer for contentment is the hardest?