“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…” Such is apostle Paul’s attitude towards the believers he is writing his letters to. This particular quote is from Philippians 1:3-5, NIV. Each letter of Paul from the New Testament, besides the one to the Galatians, contains in its beginning a special part in which the apostle expresses his thanksgiving to God for the brothers and sisters he is writing to. The paragraph of thanksgiving is a typical part of the personal letters in Paul’s time. Unique, however, is the way in which he decides to give thanks. While the secular letters expressed thanks to the gods for various personal issues, such as health, welfare, etc. Paul thanks to God and not for issues of his own, but for the recipients of his letter – his family in Christ. read more
Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality (Romans 12:11-13, NIV).
Paul’s letter to the church in Rome from the first century is often limited to a well written lesson on systematic theology. This, however, is the very reason due to which most of the letter’s today’s readers miss seeing the practical guides which make up the message. After all, Romans is a letter by a caring spiritual father to his children in the faith. Thus, after clarifying for his brothers and sisters in Christ the basics of the Christian faith Paul does not forget to also remind them how to show this faith through practice in their lives. The whole chapter 12, as well as much of the following ones, is a description of how the life of a believer ought to be like. So, before you continue reading this devotional, please, do read the whole chapter 12 of Romans (you may also read till the end of the letter).
It does not come by surprise that in the middle of this description one finds the phrase “faithful in prayer.” Multiple times already we have turned our attention to how seriously Paul takes prayer. In most Bibles there is two references attached to this phrase. These two other passages confirm the apostle’s teaching. read more