1) Paul is writing while he is in prison. Even in circumstances that are difficult he is still looking for ways to encourage believers and to challenge them to grow deeper in their walk with God. He does not whine and complain about his lot in life. He does not seem concerned that somehow God has forgotten about him. His faith is as strong as ever and he knows that God is going to use his imprisonment to further the gospel.
2) He may not be able to travel and preach and plant churches but he can pray. He prays because he is convinced that God hears his prayers and will do what he asks because he prays for things that are of concern to God himself. He does not pray prayers that will change circumstances for his Philippian friends; he prays prayers that change hearts.
3) I notice a few things about his praying:
- His praying is laced with gratitude (v.3)
- He prays with joy as he thinks about his friends (v.4)
- He prays with confidence that God is at work in their lives (v.6)
- He prays about things that matter to God more than outward circumstances (vs 9-11)
There is so much that I have to learn about prayer. These few verses here are a great reminder to me and a great challenge to me that prayer is not the least that I can do for others, it is the most that I can do for others.