My Word for the Year 2016 is JOY! Each week I will share a "Word Wednesday" post as I discover the JOY in my life that has been revealed to me during the week. Please join me during this year-long journey...
This week's title is, "Praying with Joy":
The title is based on Philippians 1:3-6, taken from the New Revised Standard Version:
"I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing (in the gospel) from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ."
What do you think about that? Paul prayed with joy for the people of Philippi! In the first verse, he said that he and Timothy "write this letter to all followers of Jesus in Philippi, pastors and ministers included."
Paul wasn't just praying for the leaders; he wasn't just praying for the pastors and ministers. He was praying for all followers of Jesus in Philippi.
I wasn't satisfied with just one occasion where Paul prayed for others. I was certain I'd find more; and I did!
In Romans 1:9b, Paul writes, "...without ceasing I remember you always in my prayers..."
And, 1 Corinthians 1:4 begins with "I give thanks to my God always for you..."
Colossians 1:3 begins with "In our prayers for you we always thank God..."
In 1 Thessalonians 1:2, Paul assures us that he "...always give(s) thanks to God for all of you and mention you in (our) prayers, constantly..."
Again in 2 Thessalonians 1:3, Paul says, "We must always give thanks to God for you..."
Paul writes to Timothy in the 2nd letter of "Timothy 1:3b-4: "...when I remember you constantly in my pryaers night and day. Recalling your tears, I long to see you so that I may be filled with joy."
And, finally in his letter to Philemon, Paul writes, "When I remember you in my prayers, I always thank my God..."
Well, I am not a scholar, and this is not intended to be a Bible study. But, I think we can learn a lot from Paul!
Paul prayed for others - without ceasing; constantly; always. And, he thanked God for them all when he lifted them up in prayer.
AND HE PRAYED WITH JOY!
Almost every day I read requests online for prayer. Some are people I know who are having a rough time in one way or another: a sickness, loss of a job, a multitude of crises that have occurred, or even just needs that are "un-named".
And there are also requests from those that I do not know - personally - yet, I have a close connection to through our blogs and Facebook groups.
Do I pray joyfully when I read these requests? Do I pray without ceasing, constantly, or always?
Well, to truthfully answer that...not right away; and certainly not without ceasing, etc.
Perhaps later I remember to whisper a prayer; but am I praying without ceasing, constantly, or always?
What I can do, but what I don't usually do, is to stop right then and there and lift that person up in prayer.
Does this sound a little like Paul who had that dilemma of doing that which he didn't want to do in order to "press on to the goal ahead"?
I guess we really can learn a lot from Paul, and from the Bible! That's for certain, and no surprise!
But, even if I did pray as soon as I read the request...
Do I pray joyfully?
And, what does that look like? Why would I pray joyfully that someone has cancer; or has lost a loved one; or lost their job; or...
What exactly does it mean to pray joyfully?
Let me share what the Message says in Philippians 1:3, "Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart."
How would it be if we broke out in exclamations of thanks to God every time we learn of a need for prayer? If that exclamation were to be a trigger to prayer...
I don't think that "praying with joy" necessarily means we are joyful because of the need. I think it means that we are joyful because we know we can lift that need up to the One who can take care of that need.
And, with Paul, we can thank God every time we remember them!
So, what are your thoughts on "Praying with Joy"...I am not an expert at all; just sharing my thoughts!
Join me again next week for another Word Wednesday where I'll be sharing yet another joy I've discovered!