“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy.” (Philippians 1:3-4)
The letter to the Philippian church stands as perhaps the most personal of the epistles, with Paul’s love for the believers being obvious. He expressed his love with heartfelt prayer for them every time he thought of them.
These prayers are constant in the sense that the Philippian believers were never far from his thoughts. Often Paul resorted to prayer for their personal needs and their relationship to God. His prayers are described by at least two Greek words of interest to us. First, he tells that he “thanked [his] God” (Greek eucharisteo) each time they came to mind. To another church he similarly wrote, “I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:4). The word implies a sincere statement of genuine gratitude for their fellowship in being with him in serving God and partnership in the ministry.
Likewise, he used the word “supplication” (Greek deesei), an expression of gratefulness for his needs having been supplied. Paul’s needs were often provided for by those to whom he ministered, and he was profoundly grateful. The Christian minister is enjoined to remember his followers with “joy.” Paul remembered them in thankfulness to God for them and to them for their response.
We should strive to arrive at a balance between our ministry goals in evangelism and ongoing care for believers’ Christian growth and steadfast doctrinal purity. What is the state of our harmony among church members, as well as our prayers for them? JDM