Looking unto Jesus — chapter by chapter

Unstoppable in Prayer

Always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy.
Philippians 1:4


Allow me to underscore the above verse from the Phillips version—

My constant prayers for you are a real joy!

This one verse, in its most simple and straightforward understanding, is of great insight to us. It reveals to us the persistence in Paul’s prayers. We would assume his persistence to be nothing less than stellar. But consider his circumstances as he wrote this letter.

Because of his arrest, chaining and imprisonment, he was prevented from that which he likely would have chosen to continue doing—those most dear to his heart. He could not venture into new regions and countries to share the gospel; he could not physically touch-base with the churches he had founded; he could not address the intellectuals on their turf as he had the Athenians at Mars Hill; no pulpit could he enter to preach Christ and Him crucified; he was not at liberty to disciple young men and bring them into his orbit that they might be strong in the ministry; evangelism though possible, was limited and planting a new church was impossible.

He was prevented from so many things dear to his heart, yet absolutely unstoppable in prayer… and joyfully at that!

To the Romans he revealed, “without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers.” The Corinthians read, “I thank my God always concerning you.” To those in Ephesus, “I do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers.” The Colossians knew he “gave thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you.” The letters to the Thessalonians revealed he “gave thanks always for them,” and “we are bound to thank God always for you.” Timothy knew he prayed for him “night and day.” And his friend Philemon must have delighted as he read that Paul “made mention of you always in my prayers.”

Continually Paul was talking to the Lord about the people he knew, and knew of. Hebrews 7:25 clearly lets us know that Jesus “always lives to make intercession”. When we follow the example of the Apostle we are modeling what the Jesus is doing right now for us. Jesus is interceding for you and for me—see Hebrews 7:25. There is no location, nor situation where we cannot boldly approach God directly on behalf of others and ourselves. Perhaps we are unable to carry out a conversation, see a correction, or engage in help, but intercession is “always” available. Prayer is a tremendous and costly gift from God to us–it cost God everything to make it possible for us to pray.

Pray always! Follow the example of Jesus—“always living to make intercession.”

Maranatha!