– Thrive (1) – Praying with Joy – January 22, 2017
lesson one (1) in our new series entitled “Thrive: Living in Real Joy.”
scripture is Philippians 1:3-11.
Prayer is an
opportunity to experience joy.
fitting that this new series follows our study of GOD’S Word, Psalm 119, and
the special lesson, GOD has chosen us – all of us for HIS purpose.
We are not
upon earth by accident but by design. GOD knew us before HE created the world. Exactly
according to HIS plan, we were conceived and born with the freewill to choose.
next six-weeks our focus scripture will be taken from Philippians. Our lesson
will focus on: Praying, Sharing, Following, Growing, Practicing and Giving.
Each study will focus on the “Joy” associated with each of these.
focuses on “Praying with Joy.” Let’s explore!
talking with GOD. Prayer is a two-way conversation. We talk with GOD and GOD
speaks to us. How does GOD speak to us? Any way we will listen to HIM. Do you
recall 1 Kings 19:11-13, GOD communicated with the Prophet Elijah as we read:
11 Then He said, "Go out and stand
on the mountain in the Lord's presence." At that moment, the Lord passed
by. A great and mighty wind was tearing at the mountains and was shattering
cliffs before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind
there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.
12 After the earthquake there was a
fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was a voice, a soft whisper.
13 When Elijah heard [it], he wrapped
his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.
Suddenly, a voice came to him and said, "What are you doing here,
Shirer has a Bible Study entitled “Discerning the Voice of GOD.” If you have
not taken it, I highly recommend it.
Do we pray
in real joy? What is our expectation? When GOD does not respond, what do we do?
We must keep
in mind that there is the physical and the spiritual realm. Let’s consider the
prayer of Daniel. His prayer was delayed, as we recorded in Daniel 10:10-14:
10 Suddenly, a hand touched me (Daniel)
and raised me to my hands and knees.
11 He said to me, "Daniel, you are
a man treasured [by God]. Understand the words that I'm saying to you. Stand on
your feet, for I have now been sent to you." After he said this to me, I
Do you know
that you are treasured by GOD?
12 "Don't be afraid, Daniel,"
he said to me, "for from the first day that you purposed to understand
and to humble yourself before your God, your prayers were heard. I have come
because of your prayers.
13 But the prince of the kingdom of
Persia opposed me for 21 days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to
help me after I had been left there with the kings of Persia.
14 Now I have come to help you
understand what will happen to your people in the last days, for the vision
refers to those days."
does not indicate that GOD has not already taken action on your request. You
simply do not know it. That is why, when we pray, we must trust.
Paul gives us insight into the spirit world in Ephesians 6:12-13:
12 For our battle is not against
flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the
world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the
13 This is why you must take up the
full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and
having prepared everything, to take your stand.
not want Christians to experience the power of prayer. The words of Dr. Vance
Havner come to mind “We must practice in the dark what we learn in the light.”
pray, we must trust GOD to answer according to HIS will and purpose for our
lives and in the lives of others.
scripture reveals to Christian men a very important point regarding their prayer
life as recorded in 1 Peter 3:7:
7 Husbands, in the same way, live with
your wives with understanding of their weaker nature yet showing them honor as
co-heirs of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.
Paul was called by GOD to go to Macedonia. The Apostle Paul and his companions would
establish a church in Philippi. This is recorded in Acts 15:36-41 and 16:1-40. Paul,
Timothy, Silas and Luke met with a group of women who were worshiping near the
river in Philippi. This group of ladies formed the base for the new Christian church
Paul’s letter to the Church at Philippi was written while Paul was in prison in
Rome. He thanked them for the gift they had sent to him. Plus, he wanted them
to know the joy and strength that comes from obediently serving JESUS. Let’s
Let’s read Philippians 1:1-2:
1 Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ
Jesus: To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the
overseers and deacons.
2 Grace to you and peace from God our
Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
those bought with a price for the purpose of doing their masters work. All who
place their faith in JESUS have been bought with a price no other person can
provide and that is the shed blood of JESUS.
Let’s read Philippians 1:3-6:
Thanksgiving and Prayer
3 I give thanks to my God for every
remembrance of you,
wonderful when our memories of a certain place and friends we met in that place
bring joy to us. Paul reveals the joy in the LORD that he experienced with them
in Philippi. There was unity and harmony through the common bond of Christian
fellowship which is “koinonia.” There was “joy” which comes from the Greek
“chara” which is related to the Greek word “charis” for “grace.”
rich memories because GOD was at work in Philippi in the lives of Lydia and the
Philippian jailer and his family. Watching GOD work in the lives of people
brings joy to all who minister in the name of JESUS. This leads us to ----
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
It is always
a joy to watch those who have accepted JESUS as their Savior continually to
obediently serve HIM throughout their lives. Once they began their journey with
JESUS they have continued to walk with HIM.
to look back at Acts 16:11-40:
11 Then, setting sail from Troas, we
ran a straight course to Samothrace, the next day to Neapolis,
12 and from there to Philippi, a Roman
colony, which is a leading city of that district of Macedonia. We stayed in
that city for a number of days.
13 On the Sabbath day we went outside
the city gate by the river, where we thought there was a place of prayer. We
sat down and spoke to the women gathered there.
14 A woman named Lydia, a dealer in
purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God, was listening. The
Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was spoken by Paul.
15 After she and her household were
baptized, she urged us, "If you consider me a believer in the Lord, come
and stay at my house." And she persuaded us.
Paul and Silas in Prison
16 Once, as we were on our way to
prayer, a slave girl met us who had a spirit of prediction and made a large
profit for her owners by fortune-telling.
17 As she followed Paul and us she
cried out, "These men are the slaves of the Most High God, who are
proclaiming to you the way of salvation."
18 And she did this for many days. But
Paul was greatly aggravated, and turning to the spirit, said, "I command
you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her!" And it came out right
19 When her owners saw that their hope
of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the
marketplace to the authorities.
20 And bringing them before the chief
magistrates, they said, "These men are seriously disturbing our city. They
21 and are promoting customs that are
not legal for us as Romans to adopt or practice."
22 Then the mob joined in the attack
against them, and the chief magistrates stripped off their clothes and ordered
them to be beaten with rods.
23 After they had inflicted many blows
on them, they threw them in jail, ordering the jailer to keep them securely
24 Receiving such an order, he put them
into the inner prison and secured their feet in the stocks.
A Midnight Deliverance
25 About midnight Paul and Silas were
praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.
26 Suddenly there was such a violent
earthquake that the foundations of the jail were shaken, and immediately all
the doors were opened, and everyone's chains came loose.
27 When the jailer woke up and saw the
doors of the prison open, he drew his sword and was going to kill himself,
since he thought the prisoners had escaped.
28 But Paul called out in a loud voice,
"Don't harm yourself, because all of us are here!"
29 Then the jailer called for lights,
rushed in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas.
30 Then he escorted them out and said,
"Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"
31 So they said, "Believe on the
Lord Jesus, and you will be saved-you and your household."
32 Then they spoke the message of the
Lord to him along with everyone in his house.
33 He took them the same hour of the
night and washed their wounds. Right away he and all his family were baptized.
34 He brought them up into his house,
set a meal before them, and rejoiced because he had believed God with his
An Official Apology
35 When daylight came, the chief
magistrates sent the police to say, "Release those men!"
36 The jailer reported these words to
Paul: "The magistrates have sent orders for you to be released. So come
out now and go in peace."
37 But Paul said to them, "They
beat us in public without a trial, although we are Roman citizens, and threw us
in jail. And now are they going to smuggle us out secretly? Certainly not! On
the contrary, let them come themselves and escort us out!"
38 Then the police reported these words
to the magistrates. And they were afraid when they heard that Paul and Silas
were Roman citizens.
39 So they came and apologized to them,
and escorting them out, they urged them to leave town.
40 After leaving the jail, they came to
Lydia's house where they saw and encouraged the brothers, and departed.
of Philippi was established in Lydia’s house.
Now back to our focus scripture
repeating Philippians 1:6:
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
an ongoing process until a Christian either, exits his or her earth suit and
goes to Heaven or CHRIST returns to earth for the second time. Christians are
secure in CHRIST.
Let’s read Philippians 1:7-8:
7 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 establishment of
Paul was on
the receiving end of the love the Christians in Philippi had for JESUS because
they were ministering to him in prison and remaining steadfast in the defense
and rock solid foundation of the gospel during times of uncertainty.
8 For God is my witness, how I deeply
miss all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
times in our lives produce joy when we see the hand of GOD at work in those
whose hearts have been changed by the gospel. Hard times produced lasting
relationships with fellow Christians in Philippi. Christians in Philippi saw the
power and hand of GOD at work in the lives of Paul, Silas and the others who
were with Paul as well as fellow converts to CHRIST.
witnessed a genuineness of salvation in the lives of the Christians in Philippi
because they had not forgotten Paul and had reached out to him while he was in
prison in Rome. They had sent Epaphroditus to minister to Paul in prison with
Paul and Silas
had demonstrated the love of JESUS when they were beaten and placed in jail in
Philippi and GOD’S deliverance and care for them. They saw the fruit that came
from their overnight stay in jail that resulted in the jailer and his family
receiving JESUS as their Savior and becoming Christians. They saw that Paul and
Silas exonerated by the public officials in Philippi.
Let’s read Philippians 1:9-11:
9 And I pray this: that your love will
keep on growing in knowledge and every kind of discernment,
prayer was for their love of JESUS to continue to grow as they put into action
what GOD, through the indwelling Holy Spirit, was revealing to them. Growth is
continuing action. When Christians put into action what they learn as they
yield their lives to CHRIST results in knowledge. Wisdom is knowledge applied
to GOD’S plan. Wisdom in turn results in having every kind of discernment for
application to our walk as Christians -----
10 so that you can determine what really
matters and can be pure and blameless in the day of Christ,
11 filled with the fruit of
righteousness that [comes] through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of
keeps us focused on that which is important to GOD according to HIS plans and
purpose for our lives. We can get caught up in busy activity which robs us of
time. Christians need to discern what really matters to GOD and for Christians
to obediently use their time wisely.
We are time dependent. If Satan can get us to chase useless activity that is contrary to
GOD’S plan it dilutes the time Christians can focus on that which is important for
GOD. It robs GOD and it robs us of the joy of obedient service.
do all he can to get our eyes turned away from GOD.
GOD is sovereign
and our prayer life is vital for Christians to function upon earth. Satan
desires for humans to consider this world truth and reality but the truth is that
all Christians are destined for heaven which is truth and reality. This world
is not our home; we are aliens in a foreign land. Prayer connects us to truth.
Salvation connects us to this truth and is the starting point to reality. Christians
look through the fog of life and then face to face as they build their
relationship with GOD through JESUS. As we read and study GOD’S Word, pray and
obediently put into action what GOD reveals to us, the fog of this life is
lifted and we begin to see and understand truth.
May we all
be “filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through JESUS CHRIST to
the glory and praise of GOD” because this world is not our final destination. The
“fruit of righteousness” as it is manifested in our lives brings unspeakable
joy to us as we communicate with our Father, through prayer, because HE is the reality
upon earth in the midst of the fog in life upon