“Every time I pray for all of you, I do it with joy” (Phil. 1:4, GW).
By nature, I tend to be a pretty serious person. I’ve never had to be chided, “Come on, take this seriously.” Instead, I’ve tended to err in the opposite direction, that of being a little overly intense about everything. Can you relate to this? Holy Spirit has been faithfully at work in this aspect of me. For a number of years now, He has been teaching me about joy.
You and I, and everyone alive, need more and more of this gift in our lives. It’s no coincidence that joy comes in number two in our list of the fruit of the Spirit, right after love. As we learn from Nehemiah, His joy is our very strength. Real, Holy Spirit joy infuses us with vitality.
I have been soaking myself a lot in Philippians recently. Did you know that Paul used the words “joy” and “rejoice” a total of sixteen times in this short book? He even wrote of rejoicing about spiteful people preaching the gospel for malicious reasons. He composed this letter to his brothers and sisters as he suffered in prison, and yet he couldn’t stop repeating words about his joy. The bubbling spring of his supernatural rejoicing could not be stopped up by the cruelty of his captors.
As you notice, our verse for today is from this book. “Every time I pray for all of you, I do it with joy” (Phil. 1:4, GW). I believe Holy Spirit wants to speak to our hearts specifically today about the joy He wants to give us in our prayer lives. Prayer is not meant to be a mostly somber occasion. He desires to light up our hearts with Heaven’s joy as we engage with Him in the highest privilege of all: communion and conversation with our Daddy God.
No matter what we are going through, real, supernatural joy is available. Let’s ask the Father to develop this Holy Spirit fruit in our lives more and more. And let’s joyfully anticipate His answer.
“I will… make them joyful in My house of prayer” (Isa. 56:7, NKJV).
Why do we hear a lot of sermons about love and faith but not as much about joy?