Sunday, 9th December, 2018
Reference text: Philippians 1:4-6,8-11
Philippians 1:4 and every time I pray for you all, I pray with joy
‘Love yourself’, ‘make yourself happy’, ‘enjoy yourself’: these are concepts that apparently aim at making us more appreciative of who we are, so we can live better. But on the flip side, they can make us selfish and self conceited- we can easily lose sight of the fact that life isn’t just about ‘me, myself and mine’.
Saint Paul in writing to the Philippians says ‘Whenever I pray for you, I do so with joy’. Sadly, the idea of doing things for others with a joyful heart, not out of responsibility or necessity, is disappearing from our to-do list. Intercession: praying for everybody but yourself, service: putting the needs of others first, are quickly becoming scarce traits for people to actually possess, and that is saddening.
Mind you, this is not saying ‘neglect yourself and focus solely on others,’ rather, it is a reminder of the two fold dimension of our lives: ‘ourselves’, and ‘others’. We need to grow up to a place where we can do things for others joyfully and not grudgingly, the point where we can pray for others, serve them and act in their best interest without ignoring our own selves.
The words ‘somebody is praying for me’ sounds like being dependent on the prayers of others, but our reality is even though we may be unaware, there are some on their knees who include us in their prayers. We do not have to be specifically aware, but the prayers others offer on our behalf, works for us. With the efficacy of the church’s prayers for Peter during his arrest as a reference point (Acts 12:5), we are also called to pray for one another, and to do so with glad hearts.
Remember # it has never been about only you.