The Berean Expositor
Volume 28 - Page 97 of 217
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Light upon the Purposes of Prayer.
"In nothing anxious . . . . . in everything make request."
pp. 12 - 15
The prayers of Eph. 1:, 3: and 6: are definite. The prayer of Phil. 1: 9-11 is specific
and complete, but there are prayers throughout the epistle to the Philippians that may
evade our definition and yet are true and real. Among these we would place the opening
verses of chapter 2:
"If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any
fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, fulfil ye my joy, that ye be
like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be
done through strife or vain glory, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better
than themselves" (Phil. 2: 1-3).
There is not one of us but could with profit turn every point of these verses into daily
Again, the words of Phil. 3: 10, "That I may know Him" (of which Eph. 1: 15-19 is
but an expansion), is the quintessence of prayer. So also, the principle of the beseeching
of Euodias and Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord (Phil. 4: 2), which is parallel
with 2: 1-3, is one which should ever have its place with us.
In Ephesians we observed that one prayer was connected with the apostle's
circumstances--"all my affairs, and how I do"--and we saw that the apostle's great
concern was not the amelioration of his bondage, but for grace to glorify the Lord therein.
In Phil. 1: there is a statement marked by several features illustrative of the purposes
of prayer. Let us quote the passage.
"For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of
the spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in
nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also, Christ shall
be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ,
and to die is gain" (Phil. 1: 19-21).
The prayer of the apostle in Eph. 6: shows how completely he had risen above that
which is merely personal, and so the prayer of the saints on his behalf recorded here can
be calmly reviewed and gratefully endorsed. For when a man can truthfully say, "For me
to live is Christ", the circumstances of that life, whether bond or free, will take but a
relative place.
We may here learn an important lesson regarding prayer. There appear to be three
links in the chain.