Philippians 1:3-5 – I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.
One of the best ways to learn to pray is to pray with people who know how to pray. I have enjoyed partnership in prayer with various people since the moment I was born again. One man taught me to wake early every day and pray for others. We walked the perimeter of the college campus before breakfast every morning and prayed aloud for the people as we passed various buildings. We prayed for administration and students. We prayed for coaches and athletes. We prayed for maintenance and other support staff. We covered that campus with prayer every day. Another prayer partner taught me a deeper reverence for God as he insisted on kneeling nearly every time we prayed. His love and awe for God were infectious. Praying with children is always a treat. They haven’t been beaten up by life and still believe God is able to do anything. The prayer of a child is often clear and sweet, and it reminds me to renew my confidence in the love and power of God.
Another way to learn to pray is to read about the prayer lives of others. Paul provides a glimpse into his personal prayer life in Philippians 1:3-5.
Paul had a high view of God. He gave credit to God when something good occurred, and he trusted God to intervene on behalf of those he loved. Who did Paul thank when he was grateful for his Philippian friends? He thanked God. He understood every good gift comes from God (James 1:17). Life is not a series of random occurrences, because our God is sovereign. Paul’s high view of God also motivated him to seek God on behalf of others. He prayed for the Philippian church regularly, because he knew God was able to do great things for them.
Paul’s prayer life also reflects his servant heart. Paul’s focus was outwardly. He reports that he remembers Philippian believers. He thinks about them and prays for them. Paul thanks God for them and also prays for them. Paul intercedes for them by representing them to God in prayer. This is one model of intercessory prayer, and we can never have too much intercessory prayer.
I hope to better follow the example of Paul in my prayer life. Even as I write this article, I stop to pray for you. I thank God for my family, church, and community. I stop now to pray on your behalf, and I invite you to follow suit.