I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.
Paul’s intercessory prayers for the Philippian saints can help us reflect on the shape of our own prayers for those whom we love in the Lord. Do we, for example, join him in praying that those we work with as Christians will grow more and more in God’s love? Or do we, as I tend to do, mostly pray that God will meet their physical and emotional needs?
Just before I sat down to write this devotional I read Paul’s words to the Philippians while he was in a Roman prison.
I am not in a prison, but my usual activities have scaled down because of the Coronavirus, and some health issues. And as I am spending more time at home, I have been thinking about all of those marvelous Christians who have mentored me in my faith life, supported me spiritually and been a prayer partner with me over the years.
This page is much too short to name them all. Then I think of new relationships I have formed over the past two to three years and how I have also included them in my daily prayers. I confess that I have not offered prayers of thanksgiving for them as much as I have prayed for God to meet their needs. I am filled with gratitude for so many Christians who have supported me in my ministry as a pastor, for Via de Cristo mentors and persons in my congregation that still include me in their prayers.
Perhaps we each need to make an examination of our own prayer lives this Advent and review all those who have mentored us or supported our faith life in some way.
We might reflect on the shape of our prayers for those we love and are grateful for their loving witness to us. We might pray that loved ones will know the difference between what pleases and displeases the Lord. We might give God thanks for all of those who have mentored us in our faith life. I am not saying that we should not pray that our loved ones and Christian friends will travel safely and have happy holidays. I am simply saying that we might examine our prayers and give God thanks for those people who have blessed us in our Christian journey.
I think my prayers are going to get lengthier as I give God thanks for more and more Christians who have mentored and supported my journey of faith in Christ.
This is an advent of waiting for Christ’s coming in prayer.
- Who has mentored you in your spiritual journey?
- Can you sit down and make a list of them and then pray a prayer of thanksgiving for each one along with any other concerns for which they may need your prayers?
- If you have been to Via de Cristo, are there friends there who have helped you grow in your faith? Can you write them a note or email mail them and tell them how they have blessed your life?
- How could you bless other groups of Christians you are not with daily by sharing your message of prayer to God for them in a note to them? Can you send them a prayer Palanca or Cha?
Sue is NLS Spiritual Director, since 2019 and is a retired Lutheran Pastor (ELCA). Active in VdC since 1995, she has served two terms on the Board of the Texas VdC Secretariat, and also on the Texas Gulf Coast VdC Board as Spiritual Director since its start-up in 2017.