This morning the following verse was in my daily devotional: “In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 1:4-6) As I was studying this verse, it occurred to me just how much these three verses have to say.
Paul tells the members of the church of Philippi that he always prays for them with joy because of their partnership in the gospel. In my daily prayers, I am praying for quite a few people who I know are my brothers and sisters in Christ. I know they are hurting (they are facing cancer, death, the loss of loved ones and many other dire situations). But here Paul is saying that he prays with joy. I’m not certain I’ve thought to pray to the Lord with joy for these needs. And then I remembered in my study of James that he said, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” (James 1:2-3)
In the trials that we all face, we are encouraged to persevere — not on our own power, but by depending on the Lord. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2) The God who began a good work in us continues it throughout our lifetime and will finish it when we meet Him face-to-face. In fact, we are to “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Phil 1:6) Today, I come to the Lord in the confidence that when He begins a work, I know He will complete it.
I would like to ask you to join me in joyfully going to the Lord to pray for needs of others. While we and our friends and loved ones are still here on this earth, His work in us and through us is not complete. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13) When we ask the Lord to align our desires with His, we can have confidence our prayers will be answered. “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” (Matthew 21:22)
I don’t know about you, but I sure needed to hear this today.