Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.
(Philippians 1:19-20 ESV)
Thus far in Paul’s letter to the Philippians we’ve noticed his positive attitude in the face of dreadful conditions and the possibility of execution. The Philippians were more concerned about Paul’s present and future than he was. This letter is Paul’s response to them, putting the situation in perspective.
Paul was confident of being delivered from his present circumstances. And he knew that would happen through the power of Jesus Christ because of the prayers of the Philippians. Earlier Paul had wrote that he was praying for them [Philippians 1:3-4]. Now we read that they were praying for him. And this made Paul glad. Knowing that others are praying for us should be a great source of strength and hope.
The Philippians response to hearing about Paul’s situation was to pray. They lived over 1,200 miles away and did not have the ability to help him. They didn’t have the political clout to get him released from prison. They couldn’t alleviate his discomfort at being confined. They could not change Paul’s circumstances at all. So they did the one thing they could do: pray.
No matter where you are or what your own personal situation is you can pray. Some people don’t see how they can serve God. They don’t think they have any skills or talents that God can use. That certainly isn’t true. But nevertheless, no one can claim that they can’t pray. No matter who you are or where you are you have the ability and time to pray for others.
Prayer demonstrates a reliance on and a trusting of God. Its easy to worry and/or to take matters into our own hands. But we should not do this. We should patiently wait on God. When we pray for someone to be delivered from an illness or some other undesirable situation we are asking God to bring about healing while admitting our own inability to bring it about ourselves. Prayer therefore brings glory to God and humbles us.
We should be praying for people in need. And we should let them know we are praying for them. They will be uplifted at knowing that the power of the Holy Spirit is active in their lives and will deliver them.
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