Prayer Filled Partnership
3 I give thanks to my God for every remembrance of you, 4 always praying with joy for all of you in my every prayer, 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. 6 I am sure of this, that he who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. 7 Indeed, it is right for me to think this way about all of you, because I have you in my heart, and you are all partners with me in grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. 8 For God is my witness, how deeply I miss all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:3-8)
From verses 3 to 8, Paul continues his introduction to the Philippians by extending out his gratitude for them, being in prayer over them whenever he remembered them. The church at Philippi supported Paul with both prayer and financial gifts. So, whenever they crossed his mind in the ministry, Paul prayed a prayer of thankfulness, “I give thanks to my God for every remembrance of you.” The work that the church in Philippi filled Paul with much “joy.” Not only that, but the church had a “partnership in the gospel from the first day until now,” meaning that they were faithfully following Christ and supported Paul during his missionary journeys, even from the very start.
Because of this, Paul is confident that the Lord will continue His work through them, as seen in verse 6, “I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. As Max Anders writes, When God starts a work in our lives, beginning with our salvation, He will finish it. As believers, we are to grow in the Christian life becoming more like Christ each day.” This process is also known as sanctification.
With verse 7, we can see that Paul’s support from the church has not diminished, even though he is in prison, and Paul’s love for the church is not diminished by his present circumstance; both parties care for one another regardless of the challenges, “Indeed, it is right for me to think this way about all of you, because I have you in my heart, and you are all partners with me in grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel.”
Finally, with verse 8, we see that God is Paul’s witness, seeing his heart on how much he misses the church at Philippi and would want to visit them again. Paul expresses his unconditional love for them, as Christ loves unconditionally.
Reading such an interaction between these two parties, we can see the unity of the body of believers through the love of Christ. Both Paul and the church at Philippi were faithful to the Great Commission, that although the church members may not be able to physically go out to the nations, they supported missionaries like Paul to do with financial gifts (sending Epaphroditus there) and through prayer; and Paul, being encouraged by their prayers and help financially, was able to continue on his ministry, even if he was in prison. In the same manner, as believers, may we pray and support our missionaries and one another, that even though there may be challenges in the day to day, being filled with the love of Christ, may we be an encouragement to one another.
Isaac De Guzman