Several things come to mind as I ponder this passage…
1) Paul strongly believes in the sovereignty of God – He has been arrested. He is no longer free to go from city to city to encourage the saints and to plant churches. It would seem that his life’s work has come to an abrupt halt. And yet Paul does not see it this way at all. He recognizes the hand of God even in circumstances that would frustrate and depress most people. He is taking advantage of a less than ideal situation to continue to “advance the gospel”. He knows that God’s ways are not our ways and he knows that God is in control of everything. He is sovereign!
2) Paul strongly believed in the power of prayer – verse 19: “… for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.” Now, I will admit that I don’t really understand how all this works together. Here’s what I mean – if God is sovereign over everything then why does prayer make a difference? And yet, one of the mysteries of our faith is that somehow in the sovereignty of God prayer is effectual. So Paul prayed, as we saw at the beginning of the chapter. And he solicits the prayers of the saints on his behalf. And this is good enough reason for me to pray and to have others praying on my behalf. Even if it is somewhat incomprehensible to my puny mind.
One thought on “Pondering Paul’s Epistles – Philippians 1:12-19”
Wow Shay I had never really asked myself “why does God need us to pray” but you are right, if He is Sovereign, wouldn’t He be handling it ? Great point, I never thought of! I guess He just wants us to pray to acknowledge He is in control? The whole “ask/seek” prayer, is that a different type to Him?