Philippians (03): Praying Like an Apostle

Date: 8/5/2012
More audio from All Saints Church
Type: Sunday Sermon
Topic: Prayer
Organization: All Saints
Price: FREE

Philippians (03): Praying Like an Apostle

Philippians 1:3–11 - I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 1:4 always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all . . . 1:7 For it is only right for me to feel this way about you all, because I have you in my heart . . . 1:8 For God is my witness, how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. 1:9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, 1:10 so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; 1:11 having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

Pray with Thanksgiving and Joy - Paul’s extended greeting is not only an example of godly affection, but a model for our own prayers for one another. Paul prays with thanksgiving to God for these believers (v3). He offers prayer with joy. He is able to do this because he sees their participation in the gospel: a) their deliverance in grace poured out in their lives, b) their prayers for him, c) and their financial support of him. Prayers are to be more than urgent cries immediate needs. Our prayers are to overflow with thanksgiving and joy. Do you pray with anxiety or joy?

Pray with Love and for Real Love - Paul invokes God as witness to his longing to be with them and that he is loving them with Christ’s own love, “with the affection of Christ Jesus.” From this love he is able to effectively pray that their “love may abound still more and more” (v9). Christians are to love one another sacrificially as Jesus made clear in word and deed (Jn. 15:12-13). But our disposition of love is qualified by “in real knowledge and all discernment so that you may approve the things that are excellent.” (v10). Love toward all things without qualification is not a virtue. Our love is to be with knowledge of the truth and discernment to approve what is truly good. Our prayers are to be motivated and guided by biblical love for one another. Do you pray with love or criticism?

Pray with Expectation of Glory - Paul’s prayer for them laces together his love and his expectation of their future. God began a good work in them and He will perfect it (v6). He prays that their love will blossom into that which is sincere and blameless in the day of Christ (v10). He desires that they be “filled with the fruit of righteousness . . .to the glory and praise of God” (v11). Biblical prayers always recognize, “Thy kingdom come” and “Thine is power and glory.” Our prayers should always reflect that God can “perfect” or mature others and that they can be sincere and blameless in the day of resurrection. Do you pray knowing God’s promises of future glory?
 

Gregg Strawbridge Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more