There are more than 150 'joy' verses in the Bible.
That's three verses a week to write down and ponder; three verses every seven days that would soak deep into our souls and nourish our spirits. Can you imagine the change in us if we truly understood, embraced, extended and exuded JOY as a natural fragrance of our personality and nature?
For the rest of the year (unless the Lord directs otherwise) I'm going to be sharing JOY verses each Sunday, and I've chosen Philippians 1:4 today because it's so obviously the first place to start.
Intending to read Paul's letter to the believers in Philippi this past week, I got stuck on Chapter 1 verse 4 and could not go any further because in those few simple words I was confronted with a question that required much contemplation and soul searching.
Do I pray with joy when I pray for my brothers and sisters in Christ?
Paul writes: "I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:3-6
You know, if I received a letter from a fellow believer telling me that every time they pray for me it is with JOY I think my faith would soar to new heights!
Sadly, there's probably only a few times I've ever said this to someone, even though I have prayed for joy when there's answered prayer or someone I know accepts Jesus as their Saviour.
But to be honest, I don't think I pray with JOY often enough at all. Though my prayers always begin with thanksgiving and praise to God, too many prayers are filled with angst and tears and longing and pleas for intervention, and afterwards I get up and feel relief at unloading all that on God, but I rarely get up from my prayer time with a JOY-ful attitude.
Maybe some of you are already praying like Paul, but if you're like me, how about we start praying for our fellow believers with JOY? As Paul said, God is doing a work in them that WILL continue until the return of Jesus so no matter what they are facing God has it all in hand - there are no surprises to Him, it's all under control in light of the Big Picture.
There will still be times when we must cry out to the Lord and intercede over a situation, but we can also pray alongside that with joy. Like many of David's psalms - there was a need or a trial, but there was also confidence and JOY and praise!
If this is a new idea for you too, join me and follow the example of these two mighty men of God by practicing a sprinkle of JOY within every prayer.
JOY is another way the Lord is renewing my mind by the washing of His Word. Awesome stuff.
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