“I thank my God every time I remember you. 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, 6being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:3-6
Paul’s circumstances were dire when he wrote this letter of encouragement to the Philippians. He was in prison waiting for the inevitable outcome to his sentence, which was execution. Paul knew that his death would lead him to the place of eternal joy with his Savior and Lord Jesus Christ. In spite of his circumstance, Paul still has other people on his mind and in his prayers and he is filled with joy.
Paul’s prayer for the church in Philippi is not a corporate prayer for the church as a whole, but a personal prayer with each one of them in mind. He pauses daily to express his heartfelt concern for each of them and for their spiritual well being. Paul’s attachment to the Philippians is from his own desire that their relationship grows even though he is suffering great adversity. The prayer he prays is called and intercessory prayer. An intercessory prayer is a prayer of one pleading with God to fill up that which is lacking in another. Paul is saying to God, “More, Lord,” as he desires their spiritual cup to overflow.
His thanksgiving and prayers for the Philippians are under-girded by their partnership with Paul in spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. What joy it is for Paul to pray for those with whom he has labored in spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ and to know that the good work that Jesus Christ has begun in the Philippians will continue on long after Paul’s death.
Our joy can be the same as we acknowledge the work we are doing now will continue long after we are gone. Our joy is also based in the spiritual camaraderie we have with our fellow brothers and sisters who work alongside us spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ.