Last night, my youth group’s Bible study focused on Paul’s love and concern for his fellow believers in Philippi. What was so convicting about the passage was his devotion to praying for them at every possible opportunity. They were on his mind, and he thanked God for their support and friendship.
Paul truly left an example for us to follow in Philippians 1:1-11 He received the love of God, and he was determined to channel that love to other believers as well. Personally, I believe that the best way to show affection for someone is to tell them, “I’m praying for you.”
This phrase tells them that they are not only on your mind, but you’re looking out for them, praying protection and blessings over them on a (hopefully) regular basis. Also, I don’t pray as often as I should, and my prayers are pretty selfish. If I’m praying for someone else, I’m taking time out of my day to plead with God to bless this other person in their walk with Him.
I underestimate the joy and appreciation I should have when people tell me that they’re praying for me. They close their emails with the encouraging words. They may tell me directly. However, I have not shown the proper appreciation for their intercession. If I understood their heart for me and truly wanted to reciprocate it, I would be doing the same for other believers. It would be an ongoing cycle of pleading with God on the behalf of our fellow brothers and sisters.
The practical application I take away from this passage is that I should pray for my brothers and sisters regularly. If I say I love them but don’t pray for them, then is my love genuine or false? Is it out of myself, which is limited, or from God, which is boundless?
What do I pray over them? Do I pray the temporal blessings of good health, academic and career success, and peace from all evil? Or do I pray as Paul prayed:
And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
– Philippians 1:9-11
Is my heart aligned with God’s heart, wanting His best for His people, and for my brothers and sisters in Christ.
… The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.
– James 5:16b