As we progress in our pulpit’s sermons on the epistle letter of Philippians, we will see that Paul’s work was much surrounded and supported by prayers. In Phil 1:3-4, ” … always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy”. Phil 1:19 , “….for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ…” . Phil 4:6, ” Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication.. ”
Jeremiah 33:3 “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known”. Indeed, the truth of prayer is that Prayer is Commanded by God.
Interestingly, if a soup kitchen well stocked for the long period and depths of winter, and notice circulated that those who are poor may receive food upon application, there is no need for anyone to pass a law compelling the poor to come and wait in line to take the charity. Yet so strange is man’s mentality on the other hand that it makes him need a command to be merciful to his own soul, a command to pray and be near to God.
When was the last time we have prayed alone, together with our spouse or with the family? Yes, maybe regularly for some. But what about those who doesn’t.
God’s own people need a command to pray or else they would not receive it. Why? We are very subject to fits of worldliness. We do not forget to eat. We do not forget to be diligent in business. We do not forget to go to our beds to rest. But we often forget to wrestle with God in prayer and to spend as we ought to spend, long periods of fellowship with our Father and Our God. The world has the best of our time, but our prayer closets the leftover fragments. We give our strength and freshness to the ways of money, and our weakness and fatigue to the ways of God. This is why we need to be commanded to attend to that very act that ought to be our greatest happiness, as it is our highest privilege to perform, to meet with Him.
It may be a revealing exercise for us to find out how often Scripture we are told, commanded to pray.
Mark 14:38 “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation “.
1Thess 5:17 “Pray without ceasing”.
James 4:8 “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you”
Psalms 50:15 “And call upon me in the day of trouble ”
Isaiah 55:6 “Seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near”.
Back to our opening on the epistle of Philippians and the apostle Paul. Clearly, a committed and sincere prayer life, was an answer to the deep challenges in Paul’s ministry. It was prayers that was maintaining a joyous Christian life for the apostle – Phil 4:5-7 “…but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus “.
Are we willing to be commanded by God to pray? Don’t wait. Start today!
Elder Andrew Lim