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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Basis

You probably have Philippians 1:6 memorized, I do.  It is an encouraging verse.  It has a context.  It is smack dab in the middle of Paul’s sharing with the Philippian church that, why, and what he is praying for them.  This is part of the why and it is a challenge to my anemic prayer life.
Paul's basis for praying for his co-laborers was his conviction that Christ would complete the work He started in them.  How should that affect our prayer for others?
The structural marker “for,” indicates that Paul is giving a reason or basis for why he is thankful, joyful, and praying for the Philippian believers.  The reason jars me.  He says he is praying because he knows that Christ will perfect the one’s for whom he is praying.  That is generally the content of my prayer not the basis, but for Paul it is the assumed foundation.

Paul knows that once begun with Christ, Christ will finish with you, and finish perfectly.  He is praying standing on the believer’s completed position in Christ, Colossians 2:9 – 10.  That significantly alters one’s prayer life, at least it does mine.  Rather than pray for perseverance through suffering, the prayer becomes that one will stand strong in their completed state worthy of the Gospel in order to bring others and glory and honor to Christ.

Sure we still pray for healing, but more than that we pray that the one who is struggling to stand firm in praise and joy in Christ.

1 comment:

  1. I should explore this reality a lot more. It is so contrary to my limited, self-centered perspective that I'm be hard-pressed to even notice my deviations and ignorance as to what I should be praying. One early prayer mentor used to talk about "so that" prayers - praying about what it is that brings about the result God has already promised in His will.

    In this Philippians passage Paul starts with his thanksgiving (to God) for them and this reality that you point out, Mike. Praise and thanks is where I think I should always start ("should" is a key word here, sadly). This AM as I came to my Bible my mind was flooded with the reality that so many things were out of (my) control. All I could start with was praise for who God is. Gradually I could come down to the current situations, and see the hand of God in new ways.

    I need lots more of this!

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