Instead of forging on, it seems a good idea to review the context of my theme verse for the year, Philippians 1:21. The verses before it give good instruction.
For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ. . . . (Philippians 1:19–21)Paul was in prison and counting on God to deliver him, either by life or death. What I noted here is that he was depending on the prayers of God’s people and the supply of the Holy Spirit. He had an earnest expectation and hope, but this was not a feeling or part of his wish list. It was based on the solid support of those two other resources.
Too often, I underestimate the power of prayer. Sometimes the answers seem slow in coming, or they are so different from what I expected that I miss them. Much of the time I simply forget that I’d prayed.
Paul didn’t forget. He knew that when God’s people pray, the answers come. One notable time for me was the time I walked into church and there was a human barricade in the foyer. I was told that one of our members had experienced a massive heart attack.
I went into the sanctuary. It was filled with people, mostly regulars, but also some visitors who had never been in our church before. Everyone was praying, everyone. I sat and prayed too.
It turned out that one of the visitors was an EMT, with us for the first time. He went to work on the man on the floor, without equipment, until the ambulance came. Our friend did recover, even though medical personnel said that he shouldn’t have. I’m sure that this was because of the power of “prayer and the supply of the Holy Spirit.”
These two are inseparable resources. If I pray and the Spirit is not at work, all my words will not change anything. The bigger mystery is that God chooses to work through the prayers of His people in the first place. He does not need us, but for some reason, this is the way it is.
To live is Christ means that I pray depending on the Holy Spirit, but also that I share my needs with Christian brothers and sisters and ask them to pray for me. In this, there is no room for pride or self-sufficiency. We need each other and we need the Holy Spirit. Living for Christ is about this wonderful three-way interdependency.