in my every prayer

It’s been a couple of weeks since I really worked on my word study of joy. There have been a number of reasons for this, but the primary cause was a detour through Revelation 2-3 as I spent a couple weeks in prayer and fasting over spiritual strongholds which need to be removed from my life and our church. I wrote a series of posts about this. But now, I’m back to my study of joy. And I find myself captured by by the words of Philippians 1:3-5: “I give thanks to my God for every remembrance of you, always praying with joy for all of you in my every prayer, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.”

Now, there are a number of things which grab me in this statement. The first is the cause of joy which Paul identifies at the end of the passage: “because of your partnership in the gospel…” In my study of joy, I’ve seen numerous times that fellowship and camaraderie  beget joy. So I won’t reiterate all of that today.

But that’s not the only thing that grabs me here. Take a look at verse 4. Paul says he is praying with joy for the people at Philippi every time he prays. I think this is significant because, if joy is the attitude which flows from the certainty that good things are coming, it occurs to me that Paul was really saying that he was praying for the people of Philippi with the expectation that God was going to answer.

When was the last time I prayed with the expectation that God was going to answer? I mean, obviously, I pray. But how often does that prayer simply become a litany of needs, a laundry list of requests, which I divulge and then immediately pick back up and set out to realize on my own? Or I pray about it and then worry about what I’ll do when it doesn’t come to be. Or I pray and then go about my day as though nothing is different. Nothing will be different.

Paul expected God to move, and I think that I should, too. So joy should go hand-in-hand with prayer. I should prayer with the certain knowledge that God is at work, and His work is bringing my best. It’s just a matter of time now.

But doesn’t that beg the question: how can I know that?

Fortunately, Paul provided the answer to that very question, and preemptively. In verse 3, he declared, “I give thanks to my God for every remembrance of you.”

“I give thanks…”

Paul’s prayer for the Philippians was accompanied by joy, naturally, because he gave thanks for the things God had already done in Philippi. So giving thanks for previously answered prayer enables praying now with the expectation that God is going to do something amazing and, thus, joy.

That’s a pretty good word for today!

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