3 Days of Prayer and Fasting (2021/01)

Philippians 4:10-23 (ESV)
10 I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. 11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
14 Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. 15 And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. 16 Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. 17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit. 18 I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. 19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. 20 To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.
21 Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me greet you. 22 All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar’s household.
23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

Day 1: Loving God
One of the most frequently misapplied verses of Scripture is Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Paul is not speaking here of a super-human ability to accomplish anything with the strength of Christ. This verse does not promise us that Christ will help us win NBA championships or run 2-hour marathons or accomplish our wildest dreams. It tells us that we can “[face] plenty and hunger, abundance and need,” that we can “be brought low” and “abound,” that “in any and every circumstance,” we can find contentment in Christ. In other words, it doesn’t promise the power to conquer or change every circumstance, but rather, the power to be content in every circumstance.
And the secret to this contentment is humility, being emptied of self and filled with Christ, making Christ our all in all. Paul’s secret to contentment was not a self-sufficiency, but a Christ-sufficiency. This is why Paul says, “I know how to be brought low.” That’s the same word that he used in 2:8 to say that Christ humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Paul could even endure humiliation, because he was following the footsteps of his Master who was humbled to the cross. Paul’s joy and contentment were not contingent on his humiliation or exaltation, poverty or riches, because he was finding his satisfaction in Christ alone.
  • Identify and confess to God all the things in life that are keeping you from being content.
  • Surrender yourself to God in prayer—identifying fully with Christ’s and partaking in His death, giving yourself up entirely to God’s purposes and priorities.
  • Pray that God would be a greater reality
Recommended Song: “Turn Your Eyes” by Sovereign Grace Music

Day 2: Loving One Another
In verse 19, Paul compares the gift that the Philippians sent via Epaphroditus as “a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God(Gen. 8:21; Exod. 29:18; Lev. 4:31). Though Paul was the human recipient of the Philippians’ gift, God was the ultimate recipient of their spiritual, sacrificial offering. When we give to God’s servants, we give to God Himself! This is what Jesus had in mind, when He said to His disciples in Matthew 10:40-42, “Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and the one who receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.” In the same way when Jesus addresses Paul, who, prior to his conversion, was persecuting the church, the risen Jesus says in Acts 9:4, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” Because that’s how closely God identifies with His people. The Church is the body of Christ, and Christ is the Head of the Church. So in the same way, here, Paul says, “what you have given to meet my needs, is an offering pleasing to God. And though I can do nothing to repay you, I can’t visit you to minister to you, and certainly I can’t reciprocate financially due to my imprisonment, my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
Then, at the end of the letter, Paul enjoins the Philippians to “Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me greet you.” A fellow Christian is not just another person, but a saint, consecrated for God’s special purposes, God’s special possession. He is also a brother. She is also a sister—a member of the same household of God, born again by the Spirit of the same heavenly Father. Are you aware of this reality in the way you think about, and relate to, your brothers and sisters in the church?
  • Pray that God would fill you with love and respect for other members of the church.
  • Pray that God would dispose us to be generous toward one another, considering it a privilege to give to God’s saints, which is a fragrant offering to God. Ask God to bring to mind specific people in the church whom you can pray for and specific opportunities for you to give.
  • Pray for healing for Daniel Yuan and Jen Cook from COVID-19, and protection for those living with them in the house.
  • Pray for our unity in Christ, despite many social, cultural, and political forces that pull us in different directions.
  • Pray for a long-term, suitable, affordable meeting space for our church.
Recommended Song: “Behold the Lamb” by Keith and Kristyn Getty

Day 3: Loving Our Neighbors
Paul adds an unusual note in his final greetings in verse 22, “All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar’s household.” This shows the wonderful sovereignty of God. While Paul is tied down, under house arrest, by the Roman Empire, the gospel has infiltrated the very household of Caesar! In 2 Timothy 2:9, Paul says that he is “suffering, bound with chains as a criminal” “for [the gospel],” “But the word of God is not bound!” We see that reality here. The gospel’s advance, the church’s march, cannot be stopped. Even during a pandemic, let us not lose our sense of urgency to share the gospel with our neighbors. Paul did not see his time in prison as lost time, and we should not see our time in the pandemic as lost time.
  • Pray that God would send out more laborers into the harvest, both here and abroad, especially, this month, for Indonesia, a nation we have been praying for throughout January.
  • Pray by name for your unbelieving family members, friends, and neighbors. Pray for boldness that you might share the gospel with them.
  • Pray for the new Biden administration, that the fear of God may ground them and guide them to lead the U.S. well.
  • Pray for revival in Cambridge/Boston and New England, that the Spirit of God would move powerfully in our region.
Recommended Song: “Mission’s Fame” by Matt Redman

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