Do Not Be Anxious About Anything
Over the next four weeks, we’ll be using Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi as a guide for our prayers.
Paul writes this letter while facing many personal challenges. He is in prison yet still takes the time to write to his friends, telling them how much he appreciates them and about what is important for them to remember. Gratitude and encouragement are powerful tools to maintain perspective in the midst of trials. Staying in touch with friends and sharing words of hope bolsters the spirit of both the sender and the receiver.
Paul had a strong relationship with the believers in Philippi. They supported Paul in his missionary journeys, and they were faithful in providing prayer, personnel and provision for his ministry. Because they shared together in mission they deeply loved and cared for one another. This resonates with us as a church called to mission. Our hearts are connected to our brothers and sisters all over the world as we are coworkers with them in the gospel.
During this month of prayer, we will be setting aside our anxious thoughts and persistent worries and intentionally choosing to pray for one another. As Paul instructs, we’ll be focusing on gratitude, encouragement and ways we can build each other up. Just like the Philippians, we will be praying for our missionaries all over the world, trusting in God’s provision for all of their needs.
Do not be anxious about anything,
but in every situation, by prayer and petition,
with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
– Philippians 4:6-7
Week 4: Don’t Be Anxious About Anything
May 4 – May 10
DAY 22: Monday, May 4
Friends and Family
Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends!
– Philippians 4:1
Who are “our people”? Typically, people will name their immediate family members. Our society tends to have a very narrow definition of family. But Paul is constantly stretching the limitations of that type of narrow definition. Can our friends be people who hold differing views than ours, or even a different religion? Can our sister and brother be our work friends? Can we have a brother or sister that lives in another country that we pray for regularly?
The Spirit of Christ can draw us in to broader definitions of family and friends so that these definitions can even reach around the whole world. Then as we look around we will see people we are invited to love and pray for – at school, at work, in our neighbourhood and around the world!
I thank you that you adopted me and I have become your child.
May I have a heavenly perspective to see who you want me to become friends with
and who you want to be my family.
Expand my boundaries. Give me a heart that loves deeply and widely.
Please help me to love like you love.
- For those who are alone in our world that they would encounter Christians who can be their friends and family and bring them into the Kingdom of God.
- That God will transform our understanding of “friends and family”.
- That our expanding definition of “friend and family” would cause us to cross paths with those who need someone in their lives.
Make a “Friends and Family” prayer jar. Take an empty jar or container and some pieces of paper. Write the name of a “friend” or “family” member on each piece of paper and put it into the jar – don’t forget church friends, school friends, neighbours, work colleagues, and missionaries! In Christ they are also your friends and family (your jar should be quite full!). Each day take one name out of the jar and pray especially for that person.
DAY 23: Tuesday, May 5
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
– Philippians 4:4
Rejoicing is an important part of our faith walk. The definition of rejoicing is “feel or show great joy or delight”. Notice that it is not just something we feel it is also something we choose to show.
God set up celebrations through scripture. He often asked his people to set time aside to celebrate. He instructed them to rejoice in good times and difficult times. However, in the hustle and bustle of our lives we forget to set time aside to rejoice. Sure, we find the time at Christmas or at birthdays, but is that all we are supposed to do?
Perhaps, God has another type of rejoicing in mind. A moment of rejoicing in the morning for the new day. A moment for rejoicing at the end of the day for the mercy of the Lord for his hand guiding us throughout the day. We can rejoice in the glimpses of God’s handiwork, all around us. The shining sun. The rolling clouds. Look around and see that the Creator has left us with reasons to rejoice.
I rejoice in your goodness.
I rejoice in the life you have given me.
I rejoice in the beauty of the world around me and your handiwork.
I rejoice in your faithful love that sustains and protects and gives me life.
I rejoice no matter how hard today has been.
I rejoice in you my God.
- That God would help us to rejoice no matter what our circumstances.
- That we would be a celebrating people and that we would find new and creative ways to celebrate small things and big things in our life.
- For those who are feeling downcast and defeated, that the Spirit of God would draw them close and gently show them something to be glad about.
- That missionaries who live in challenging circumstance would know the joy of the Lord.
Create your own celebration today. Decide what you are going to celebrate – make it fun and creative. Put on a special outfit (take off your sweatpants!), cook a special meal, dance to some worship music or create a beautiful drawing! Make the celebration your own. You may want to take some pictures of your celebration to inspire others to rejoice and celebrate as well.
DAY 24: Wednesday, May 6
Anxiety and Prayer
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
– Philippians 4:6
Paul had spent time in prison and had been pursued by the law and yet he could still write these words, “do not be anxious about anything”. Sometimes we think there are things that are okay to be anxious about – like our kids or the economy. But Paul tells us not to be anxious about anything, even though he had reasons to be anxious. So how do we work on this in a world where there are so many things to be anxious about? Paul tells us clearly, it is by prayer and petition, and with thanksgiving. When our hearts are praying it allows us to let go of our anxiety. Prayer brings us out of our present circumstances and our worries and lifts us into the presence of God. In his presence our worries and anxieties are given to him. Prayer is the answer to our anxiety. Giving thanks replaces anxiety as we leave them at his feet.
So often I find my heart becoming filled with anxiety.
And yet your word calls me into your presence.
Your word calls me to prayer.
Remind me to come to you with all my anxiety and leave them in your hands.
You are the King of my whole life.
- For those in our community who are suffering with mental health struggles – may God be a source of comfort, healing and strength.
- For single parents in our church who have financial strain, who are raising children on their own and feel the anxieties are insurmountable.
- For those who serve our community on the front line and their families who live with anxiety.
Take several pieces of paper – on each one, write something that is worrying you or causing anxiety. When you are finished, pick them up and make a very tight fist holding on to them. Confess your anxiety to God as you squeeze your fists tightly. When you are ready, pray a prayer of release to God who is able to do all things. Open your fists downward and let the worries you have written fall to the ground. Then turn your palms upward and pray prayers of thanksgiving for all the blessings God has filled your life with.
DAY 25: Thursday, May 7
Peace Beyond Understanding
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
– Philippians 4:7
There is nothing like being out for a walk and getting caught in a downpour of rain. We start to get soaked all the way through, but then we pull out our umbrella and suddenly even though the rain is still pouring all around us, we have protection.
The peace of God is like that. Whether it is stormy or clear, the peace of God guards our hearts and our minds – against attacks from around us and the storms that are within us. Sometimes some of our biggest struggles are within us. That is why Paul reminds us that the peace of God can guard our hearts and our minds. They are the hidden places. The places where our feelings can be real and raw, not what we present to or perhaps hide from others. God’s peace guards us from feelings of inadequacies, from accusations of the enemy, and from false guilt.
God’s peace is a peace that withstands the trials of this world. God’s peace overcomes the attacks of the enemy. God’s peace overcomes our inner struggles. God’s peace is unshakeable and unimaginable. God’s peace keeps us safe, whatever the storm may be.
Father of Peace,
Fill me with a peace that goes beyond what I try to understand.
Guard me from the attacks of the enemy.
Help me to be a peacemaker, for those who lack peace.
May I be one who brings and makes peace in the world.
May I stand firmly in your peace and may this peace flow
from my heart and my actions into a world in turmoil.
- For miraculous peace in places of the world that are in conflict and war. (Pray for the countries by name.)
- That there would be peace in the Church and that we would be peacemakers in our communities.
- For those who are really struggling with inner turmoil and conflict in their relationships. May they find peace through Jesus.
- For people who are new to Canada that they would find peace in their new home.
Go to your window and look out at nature – even if you can only see the sky. Or if possible, go for a walk and take time to notice the peacefulness of the trees, the songs of the birds, the clouds in the sky. Let nature speak God’s peace to your heart. Take the peace that you are experiencing and pray for a place in the world where peace is hard to find. Perhaps it is for the hospitals in New York, the war in Yemen, or the believers in North Korea. Allow the Holy Spirit to show you the people you are to pray for and allow the peace that surrounds you to inspire your prayers for those people.
DAY 26: Friday, May 8
Just Think About…
…Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
– Philippians 4:8
What you spend time thinking about has so much power. It influences your thoughts and feelings and eventually your actions. This is why Paul encourages us to think about the things of God. We have to be so careful about what we allow inside our minds and hearts.
It is easy to become negative. There will always be lots of situations surrounding us that would seem to justify negativity.
What do we do? Paul gives us a simple list to guide our thoughts back towards God’s goodness – think about what is noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy. That’s a very good place to start, and then allow the Holy Spirit to change our heart. We need to “change the channel” and choose to allow the Holy Spirit to remind us of God’s goodness. Shifting our thoughts doesn’t necessarily change our circumstances, but it does change our perspective to one that is true and trustworthy.
Help me to see rightly in light of who you are.
You are good, and faithful and true.
I thank you for the nobility I see in:
I thank you that this is right:
I thank you for the purity I see in the heart and life of:
I thank you for the loveliness I see in:
I thank you for the excellence of:
I give you praise for:
Today I choose to trust you in your goodness.
- That we would have God’s strength to choose what is right in our thoughts.
- That we would see the world in light of God’s goodness.
- That we would confess and repent of a negative and critical spirit.
Find some quotes or pictures that exemplify the qualities outlined by Paul and share these on social media, or in a written note to someone.
DAY 27: Saturday, May 9
I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.
– Philippians 4:11
How often do you find yourself grumbling about something in your life that you think isn’t quite good enough. How often have you found yourself longing for things to be different?
Throughout his ministry, Paul – who had known incredible renown as well as beatings and imprisonment – knew that contentment came from within not from circumstances.
It has been said, “He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have”.
At the beginning of his ministry John Wesley, was only making the equivalent of thirty dollars a month. He decided he could live on twenty-eight dollars and was faithful about sharing the remaining two dollars with someone in need. Later in his ministry, his income increased to over one hundred and twenty dollars a month. But the money he needed to live on remained unchanged at twenty-eight dollars, and he faithfully shared the ninety-two dollars with others. His needs were not determined by his income but rather by his heart before God.
Contentment comes from gratitude and trust. Our contentment gives us freedom from being tossed and troubled by outward circumstances. Our contentment also frees us to joyfully participate in all the opportunities provider God gives us to play a part in how he answers the prayers of his people.
Help me to rightly discern what I need from what I may want.
Give me a heart that is grateful and trusting so that I can experience deep contentment.
May my contentment in your provision flow out of my life in generosity to others.
- For discernment to distinguish between what we need and what we want.
- For gracious generosity towards those in need.
- For bold faith in my giving towards the ministry of our partners in other parts of the world.
- Take out your budget and pray through each item, thanking God for his provision.
- Take out your Faith Promise pledge for this year and pray that God would help you to see how you can be even more boldly generous to those in needs.
- Ask God for the privilege of being an answer to prayer for someone in need this week, set aside a specific amount so you will be ready to share when the opportunity comes.
DAY 28: Sunday, May 10
All God’s People
Greet all God’s people in Christ Jesus…
– Philippians 4:21
We are not walking our journey of faith on our own. Together we are “all God’s people”. Sometimes we feel alone. It is important that we don’t live with divisions or walls that would disrupt our togetherness. People sometimes believe that they can be in a relationship with God the Father and ignore the brothers and sisters who also call God Father. Deitrich Bonhoeffer in his book Life Together reminds us that we do not have a choice to be united with one another because we are united in Christ. The only choice that each Christian has is whether they will live out the truth of that unity well or poorly.
Togetherness is a gift from Jesus who has broken down the dividing walls between those who believe in him. So, we must take care to regard one another as brothers and sisters, and to greet one another with love and encouragement. Christ Jesus has made us “God’s people”.
Thank you that although once I was alone, you have adopted me through Christ.
I thank you for my brothers and sisters in my church, and around the world.
Remove anything that would separate me from your people in my attitude or actions.
Make us one Father as you are one with the Son and the Spirit.
May we live in the truth of your love and unity.
- For unity in our church and the Church.
- For stronger, deeper connections with our missionaries around the world.
- That we would reach out to those who do not feel welcome in the church.
- For people who do not know Jesus to know that they are welcomed and loved.
- That the church would be a beautiful expression of kingdom diversity.
Create some prayer spider charts illustrating our connections through Christ.
- Make a spider chart of people in your church groups (life group, cultural fellowship, choir…)
- Make a spider chart of people in your neighbourhood (or classroom, or workplace) and pray that they will join the family of God.
- Make a spider chart of our missionaries using a map of the world and the location they serve in.
Week 3: Rejoice in the Lord
APRIL 27 – May 3
DAY 15: Monday, April 27
Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord.
– Philippians 3:1
Friends, lets rejoice! Not in the things that we have done, but in Jesus Christ, and all he has done. When we can keep our focus on the things that God has done in our lives, it allows us to stay positive during hard times. It also reminds us that we don’t go through life by our power or ability to do anything, but what God has done in and through us. So, keep your focus on him. Rejoice in what he has done for us!
we praise you for working in us and using us a vessel to do your will. Give us strength to continue to praise you even when its not easy, or when we don’t understand. Give us the words to comfort those around us, that may be going through something difficult. Thank you for missionaries all over the world that are rejoicing in the Lord. Comfort them as they live for you.
- That we would continue to praise you for who you are and what you have done
- That we would be honest with God about our struggles and lift them up to Him
- That we help others to look up and redirect their focus on the blessings
- That we would continue to trust you when we can’t see what’s in front of us
- For our friends around the world that they would have joy
Write a list of the characteristics of God that you have seen play out in your life – a Father, Provider, Comforter etc. Thank him for all he has been to you. Take five minutes and praise God – whether by song, words, drawing, dance or any expression you choose.
DAY 16: Tuesday, April 28
But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.
– Philippians 3:7-8
Let us not be afraid of loss. Especially things that can separate us from God. The Lord gives and takes away. When he chooses to take something away from us, don’t fight it, don’t sit in regret, don’t look back. Trust God and move forward. God may ask you to suffer for him. Let’s count it all joy. Knowing Christ alone should give us fuel and joy to move ahead. Knowing that he has given us eternal life is something to rejoice. Think about people in other countries that have lost a lot. Pray for them.
remind us that you alone are our heart’s desire…our joy… our glory, and crown. Remind us that every good thing that the world has to offer is nothing, compared with the overwhelming benefit of knowing you. You are worthy, Lord – worthy to be thanked and praised and worshiped and adored. Help me to live my life with that truth.
- That we would focus on Christ and not keep dwelling on the past or the things we’ve lost
- That we would pray through any feelings of pain or grief over a loss
- That we could help others to walk forward in victory as well
- For help to process loss that we would find the confidence to reach out to the church or other believers
- That our missionaries around the world would share their needs and feeling with us so we can pray for them
Take time to write of a loss that you have had, that is still causing pain. Thank Jesus for bringing you through that time and ask for strength to move forward. Call someone and apologize or forgive, or share your story and ask for prayer – make that phone call and help the healing begin.
DAY 17: Wednesday, April 29
Righteousness by Faith
I consider them (my gains) garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.
– Philippians 3:8-9
When we look at our lives, what things do we hold on to? Our titles, how many likes on social media, our finances? What things do we think make us holy? How often we go to church? How long we’ve been serving? All these things are part of being in the body of Christ, but these things alone do not make us holy. Our faith in Christ makes us holy. Sometimes we feel that our faith is small. God loves to give us more and more faith. The more we trust him and take steps in faith, the more we build this faith.
Help us to not love the things of this world, but to desire to know you more. Give us perspective and motivation to change our lives in ways that affect your kingdom. Let us not busy ourselves with things that are not important. Jesus, give us the faith and perseverance to continue pursuing a relationship with you. Help us to understand in our heart, not just our head, that it is our faith that makes us holy. We pray for the people our missionaries are serving, that they would see the faith of our missionaries.
- That we would know and believe that our identity is not in the things of this world, but our identity is being a child of God.
- That you would give us the confidence we need to share our faith to those around us
- That we would make choices based on our true identity in Christ
Write down 3 big life decisions you have made. Consider how and why you made these decisions – perhaps out of the desire for success, or due to fear or because you wanted to please someone? Ask God to rewire your mindset to make decisions that come from a complete understanding of your identity as Christ’s child.
DAY 18: Thursday, April 30
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
– Philippians 3:12
Starting a race, and finishing a race are two different things. Many people start a race, but not all finish – and of all those who do finish, how many finish well? The Christian life is like a race. Starting is just the beginning, we should continue our growth, continue our love and understanding of the Gospel. If you have read the whole Bible once, you may think there’s nothing more to do…Not at all! Each time we read God’s Word, the Holy Spirit will show us something we never saw before. Don’t become comfortable in this race of the Christian life, strive for growth and spread of Gospel. Our purpose here on earth is never done until the day He calls us home to be with Him. Until that day, press on.
thank you for inviting us on this wonderful race. Thank you that you give us purpose. I pray that you would give us further understanding of your call on our life. Jesus, give us strength to press on. Keep our focus on the goal of finishing well. Help us to bring other people on this race with us that we may run together. Jesus, we trust you that when we are submitted to your will, we are capable of finishing well. We pray for our friends in other countries, give them strength to believe in you.
- That Christians all over the world would desire to press on
- That Christians will not be satisfied with a mediocre life, but will have a desire to thrive
- That God would give all believers the strength to press on in the midst of uncertainty or the unknown
- That we would look to Jesus’ example on the cross when we feel like giving up, that he was faithful unto death, that we could be the same
Write down 5 areas of your life where you are just surviving, but not thriving. Ask God for help in these areas – even if that means letting some things go, to focus on those that are more important. Ask God to lead you on how to thrive in your life. Christ came to give us life abundantly.
DAY 19: Friday, May 1
Complete Focus Forward
But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ.
– Philippians 3:13-14
As Christians, we must develop our discipline of focus, reaching for the goal and its completion. Not being distracted by obstacles or words of those who disagree with us. We must also practice forgetting the things of the past that would keep us down and from moving forward. We must follow our Savior until we finish this life. The victory of Christian living is at the end, when God says, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
give us the ability to stay focused, and to not be distracted by those who may try to bring us down or distract us from our goal. Give us strength to carry on when we feel like giving up. Protect us from things that may try to come against us. Help us to use your Word, to fight against the lies that may try to attack us.
- That we would guard ourselves with the Armor of God
- That we would keep our focus on the race set before us, and not be distracted or get weary
- That we would reach out to other believers if we are struggling to stay focused
- For our friends around the world that they would keep doing the good work they do for the Gospel
Take some time to think about what may be trying to take your attention from deepening your spiritual growth. Write down all the distractions in your life that you can think of. Pray through these distractions and share with a fellow believer so they can pray with you and check-in with you about them.
DAY 20: Saturday, May 2
[The enemies of the cross] their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things.
– Philippians 3:19
Christ has made it clear to us that we have enemies of the gospel here on Earth. Their goal is different from ours, and what they want is different from what we should want. It is easy to jump in and join people around us who are doing things that we shouldn’t be doing. Sometimes people can even plan to hurt us and make things difficult for us. Be aware, stay awake. Stay strong and don’t get distracted by earthly goods. Many people around the world have less than we do here, so let’s not get comfortable with these earthly treasures, but thank God for them, and if he asks us to give up something, be willing and ready to do so.
thank you for your Word that warns us of our enemies. Make us aware of things around us that might try to grab our hearts. Let us be devoted to you and the things of your kingdom. Help us to pray for those in other countries who are surviving with much less. Help us to be generous with the blessings you have given us.
- For our enemies here on earth that they come to know Jesus
- That we would be awake to the bad plans of those around us
- For people all over the world who are looking for things to fill their heart, we pray that they find you.
- For our missionaries worldwide, that you would provide for all their needs
Make a list of the things you have, but do not need. Consider donating the items to your local thrift store or drop station. If you are finding it hard to let go, pray about it.
DAY 21: Sunday, May 3
Citizens of Heaven
But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.
– Philippians 3:20
It’s easy now with Social Media, to always compare your life with others. But this is a dangerous trap. We can start to become jealous of what others have and what we don’t have. Paul reminds us that our true citizenship is in heaven, and that we can live an exciting life waiting for Jesus to return. As we also think about people all over the world who do not have water, a home, or even food sometimes, let’s be generous with what God has given us – and perhaps through our generosity, people will come to trust in Jesus.
help us to know that we are citizens of heaven. Help us to be grateful for all the blessings you have given us. Remind us that if there are hard times, that this is not the end, but just a stop along the way to our real home in heaven. Remind us to continue to pray for our missionaries that they too will remember our citizenship is in heaven, and that they would not be saddened by the things they see here on earth.
- That we would live for the things of heaven, and not chase the desires of this world
- That we would reach out to our neighbours with the Good News of Christ Jesus and the hope of heaven
- That we would continue to pray for people all over our world that they would come to know Jesus
- That God would give us joy as we wait for Jesus
Write down 5 things that currently give you joy and thank God. Share those things with two people and ask them to do the same.
Week 2: Don’t Be Anxious About Anything
APRIL 20 – 26
DAY 8: Monday, April 20
United with Christ
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.
– Philippians 2:1-2
Paul wrote to the Philippians when he was under house arrest in Rome. He was forced to stay in his home, and he wasn’t allowed to go out – does this sound familiar? Social distancing isn’t exactly house arrest, but it can feel the same way sometimes. Paul was a missionary who loved his friends in Philippi. They were a source of joy and support to him, and he missed them. But he clings to the truth that in Christ he can still be close to them.
Some of us are feeling very alone and isolated right now. Meditate for a moment on what it means to be deeply united with Christ – the constant promised presence, the compassionate encouragement, the tender comfort.
Some of us are spending every waking hour with others. Let our union with Christ be our reliable source of understanding, patience and unity with the people you are sharing life with so intensely right now.
Some of us are separated from someone we love right now. Perhaps it is an elderly family member we can’t visit, a missionary who we pray for daily, or a dear friend we used to see every Sunday. The beauty of being united with Christ is that this union connects us to all of those we love in a way that no circumstances can separate. In prayer, through Christ, we can be one in mind and spirit with them.
Thank you for the miracle of being united with you!
Encourage us by your presence.
Comfort us with your love.
Take away any attitude in our heart that would
separate us from others, and bring miraculous unity and connection
in these days of physical separation.
- For comfort and companionship for those who are lonely (pray for them by name)
- For patience and understanding for those who are living in very close quarters
- Peace and assurance for our missionaries who may be isolated in these days
Two of the best antidotes for anxiety are focusing on positive truths and thinking of others. So, let’s engage in two prayer activities each day, throughout this week.
We’ll be memorizing the beautiful Christ song found in Philippians 2:5-11. Each day we will memorize one verse. Do this with a friend or family member so you can encourage each other as you place these powerful verses in your heart!
Today, memorize: Philippians 2:5
“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus”
We’ll be living out our oneness in mind and spirit with others by writing out an actual prayer and sending it to them.
If you are writing a prayer for one of our church members but don’t have their contact information, please send it through to email@example.com.
If you are writing a prayer for one of our missionaries but don’t have their contact information, please send the email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’ll do our best to get these prayers to the people they are written for.
DAY 9: Tuesday, April 21
The Interest of Others
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
– Philippians 2:3-4
During times of crisis, we see the very best in people and the very worst. The difference is quite simple, people who put others first are considered heroes. People who try and take advantage of the sorrows and fears of others are considered inhuman. Nonetheless, the values of the world teach us to ‘look out for number one’ especially in times of crisis. But Jesus turned that upside down and told us that the only way to real fulfillment was to help others. Francis of Assisi put it best when he wrote the poem that we will use as our prayer today…
O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console
To be understood as to understand
To be loved, as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Today, memorize: Philippians 2:6
who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
Write someone a prayer of encouragement and send it to them.
DAY 10: Wednesday, April 22
Thinking Like Jesus
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.
– Philippians 2:5
Several years back there was a movement that encouraged people to try and imagine what Jesus would do in any given situation. Paul takes this more to the heart of the process when he reminds us that we don’t just have the choice of behaving like Christ, but His Spirit can actually help us to think and understand like Christ. Jesus makes it clear in his Sermon on the Mount that we need to allow Jesus to change our hearts and how we see others rather than just trying to act differently. We don’t just act kindly towards people because it is the right thing to do, we love people because they have infinite worth and value. Our right actions will follow naturally when we allow Jesus to transform our hearts and understanding.
Transform our hearts by your love.
Help us to see and understand and value each person as you do.
May our actions reflect your love and character within us.
- That our hearts and minds would be transformed by the Spirit
- That we would see and understand others as Jesus does
- That we would love others in action and truth
Today, memorize: Philippians 2:7
…rather he made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness
Write someone a prayer of encouragement and send it to them.
DAY 11: Thursday, April 23
My Own Advantage
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage.
– Philippians 2:6
Entitlement is toxic. It often shows itself in small ways – when we begin to think that we are more deserving of services or products than someone else, or if we resent standing in long lines, or feel that our rights are being infringed upon if we can’t go to a place we like on a sunny day. Paul reminds us to be constantly doing a heart check to see if somewhere selfishness has creeped into our attitudes and actions. In these days when we are being asked by our leaders to think not only of our own well-being, but also the well-being of others, it’s a good time to really grow in this area of humility and selflessness.
Your humility amazes me!
You are God and yet you were willing to live among us
And to die for us.
Please give me a humility that doesn’t seek its own good only or first.
May the humility of your people help others to see and understand
Your humble and powerful love.
- That God would increase our trust so that fear would not make us selfish
- That God would help us see and value others as He sees and values them
- That we would allow the Spirit to show us the small and perhaps hidden areas of selfishness in our heart
- That we would allow the Spirit to reveal any prejudice or discrimination that would make us value people wrongly
Today, memorize: Philippians 2:8
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Write someone a prayer of encouragement and send it to them.
DAY 12: Friday, April 24
Obedience and Honour
Becoming obedient to death — even death on a cross! Therefore, God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name.
– Philippians 2:8-9
In our society today, obedience often has negative connotations. It can be wrongly understood as the opposite of freedom and independence which are both highly valued in our thinking. But when Jesus calls us to express our love to him by being obedient, this is not an issue of control or manipulation, but rather an invitation to live a full and complete life. Paul, in his song of praise about Jesus helps us to see that because Jesus was obedient to His loving Father, God was then able to lift him up so that all could see and know who He truly is. Paul wants us to understand that obedience to the One who loves us perfectly, will not make us less, but will allow God to lift us up and make us everything we truly were created to be.
Thank you for showing us the honour and value of obedience to our loving Father.
Help us to see past our temporary suffering to our eternal joy.
We pray particularly for those whose obedience is costing them so much.
Strengthen them in their inner beings to trust you completely.
May we keep our eyes fixed on you Jesus, and obey just as you obeyed, until you make us everything you created us to be!
- To experience the joy of obedience
- That those whose obedience is very difficult and costly, will be strengthened with hope
- That we can fully be the people God’s Spirit enables us to be
Today, memorize: Philippians 2:9
Therefore, God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name
Write someone a prayer of encouragement and send it to them.
DAY 13: Saturday, April 25
God’s Work in Us
Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
– Philippians 2:12-13
Think of something that is really important to you. When something is very important to, us we treat it with care and attention. Our salvation is an invaluable gift of God. We need to live rightly, knowing that the salvation Jesus provided for us is the best gift and highest honour of our lives. Some of us live as if God’s grace was cheap and easy, but we should be in awe every day we are saved by his grace. Our lives must display that amazement (often translated ‘fear’ in the Bible), through a constant commitment of faith in his desire to fulfill his purposes in us and through us.
Thank you for saving us, we are amazed by your love and grace in our lives.
We pray for those who still have not accepted this free gift that you offer everyone.
Right now, I pray particularly for (pray for them by name).
Fulfill your purpose in me as I seek to obey you every day.
May my obedience and the joyful amazement I have at your gift of salvation be used to help others accept this beautiful gift from you.
- That we would always be amazed and honoured by the gift of your salvation for us
- That our lives would be a good witness of how important salvation is to us
- For the following people to know and accept the gift of salvation (name 3 people)
- We pray particularly for the people of (name of a country where it is very difficult to hear about Jesus)
Today, memorize: Philippians 2:10
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth
Write someone a prayer of encouragement and send it to them.
DAY 14: Sunday, April 26
Grumbling and Complaining
Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky.
– Philippians 2:14-15
When times are difficult it is easy to find things to grumble and argue about. Little issues seem very important, emotions are raw, and things just feel ‘off’. How easy it becomes to find fault, to try and distract yourself from your own fear and discontent by magnifying the problems around you. It may seem that grumbling is harmless and even justified in times of crisis, but people who don’t know Jesus are truly lost and wandering around in the dark during uncertain times looking for something or someone who can shed some light, and bring some hope to their circumstances – sort of like looking for stars in a dark night. In their search for some kind of hopeful truth, what are they hearing and seeing from us? – Are they met with the same complaining and blaming they hear all around them, or are they hearing good news that brings shining hope to their confusion and darkness?
You are the light of our world in its darkness.
Help us to shine with the truth of your good news.
Give us pure hearts and set a guard over our mouths, so we will not grumble and argue.
May our words be truth and light to others who are living in the darkness of doubt, fear, and sin. Make us grateful and blameless by your power at work within us.
- For pure hearts
- For forgiveness for those times when we have grumbled
- That the Spirit would keep us from complaining and arguing
- That our encouraging and truthful words would bring light and blessing to others
- That you would strengthen believers around the world to live ‘differently’
Today, we will memorize our final phrase of the Philippians Christ song:
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
Write someone a prayer of encouragement and send it to them.
Week 1: Thanksgiving and the Gospel
APRIL 13 – 19
DAY 1: Monday, April 13
Pray for Those Around You
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy…
– Philippians 1:3-4
Being a part of the body of Christ is a wonderful thing. Paul encourages us to continue to pray for our friends in the faith. Let’s encourage each other to be grateful for the relationship we share in Christ. No matter what family we were born into, as believers we are part of a bigger family. Taking great delight in praying for each other, we can also remember those who live globally and pray for them as well.
Thank you so much for the gift of the Body of Christ, and all that we gain by being in unity with each other. Lord, bring us together through prayer and relationship with one another. Give us the strength to pray for each other, even when we’re busy, or distracted. Let us not forget to pray for our missionaries all over the world. Let us share in the joy and hope for the future. Help us to encourage one another and be good examples to each other.
- That we would continue to pray for other Christians, and those who live around the world too
- That we would be humble and help the body of Christ
- That we would ask God for ways that we can serve our Christian friends
- That we would grow our relationships with the body of Christ on a deeper level
Write a prayer and a note of encouragement for:
Someone in your family
A friend or neighbour
One of our missionaries (contact the church to have it emailed to them)
DAY 2: Tuesday, April 14
Trust God for Your Future
Being confident of this that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
– Philippians 1:6
Be encouraged by these words. Stay strong in the faith in troubling times of confusion. Trust that God supports you and your family. He knows what is best for you. Trust that he has started a great work within you, and will not stop until Christ comes. Focus on this truth and what he has already done in your life. Thank him for what he is doing around the world through so many people who are serving.
Thank you so much that we can trust you with our life. Thank you that we don’t have to go through this life alone. Give us strength when we are weak and comfort us in hard times, so that we can comfort others. Help me to keep my eyes on you and your promises for me.
- That we would remember God’s promises in times of doubt
- That we would encourage others to live by the same hope of God’s work in their lives
- That God would give us patience and grace as we remember that he is working in all believers
- That we would keep our missionaries in prayer as they continue to serve God in tough places and situations
Write down five things that you want to see in your life (for example – more love, more patience, etc.) Pray that God would help you to grow in these areas. Reach out to a friend or family member and tell them five things you have noticed in their life that you really appreciate.
DAY 3: Wednesday, April 15
That your love may abound more and more in knowledge and discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ…
– Philippians 1:9-10
God desires for us to continue to grow spiritually – to grow in our devotion, development, wise choices and character. At The Peoples Church we offer multiple ways to help you grow spiritually. We encourage you to explore the church website and join an online group at Peoples so that you can continue to gather and grow with a caring community of believers.
Continue to grow our understanding of your Word, so that we can live in obedience to your Word. Bring us closer to your character so that we can be more like you. Let us know your truths, so that our daily choices and thoughts, would come from your Word. Give us the wisdom to know the best choices to make in our lives. Let every thought be held to obedience under you.
- That we would thirst for God’s Word
- That we would desire spiritual responsibility in our lives
- That God would bring people into our lives who can help us on our faith journey
- For our missionaries around the world, that God would help them to grow and bring encouraging people into their lives
Make a list of three people who have impacted your life. Make a list of three people you have helped in some way. Give thanks and pray for them. Pray that God would bring more encouraging believers into your life, and that you would also be an encouraging believer in the lives of more people.
DAY 4: Thursday, April 16
Purpose in the Gospel
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
– Philippians 1:21
Today we are finding hope in both life and death. Paul is focused on the mission that God has given him to spread the gospel, that is what he lives for. Then he also finds hope in the thought of being with Christ in heaven. Not many people want to think about death, but here Paul makes it clear that he has found purpose in his life and finds benefit with death as well. Let’s lift up the persecuted church in our world that are facing this every day.
Thank you for giving us hope, both here on earth and for Heaven. We pray for the Persecuted Church, give them strength to be brave. May we all find peace in Your words, when we fear the future, and purpose in each day. Give the focus that Paul had and the joy that only Christ can give. Help us to encourage others towards their purpose in Christ, and teach children to know their worth.
- That we would live life fully with joy and purpose
- That we would teach our children and those around us that God has given us purpose
- That we would not fear the future or death, but have confidence in Christ
- For the salvation of people who feel lost and destitute without purpose
- That Christians around the world would have strength and confidence to share the gospel
Visit the World Watch List and write down three countries where Christians are being persecuted. Learn about these countries and pray for them.
DAY 5: Friday, April 17
Be a Good Example
Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel.
– Philippians 1:27
How are we acting, reacting, or responding to the world around us? As Christians we are always under a magnifying glass. By our neighbours, co-workers, children, family, extended family and friends. When things start to fall apart around us, do we fall apart as well? We say we put our faith in God, but when things get hard, are we really putting our faith in him? Are we a good example of Christ in all situations? We need to be in constant prayer with the Spirit so that we can show Christ, even when things around us become difficult.
Help us to stay in tune with the Spirit. Help us to not quiet the Holy Spirit, but be sensitive to it, so that in all situations, we are being like Christ. That we would not react from our emotion or desire, but that we would respond in the Spirit to everything that happens around us. We pray that we would feel your Spirit in a new and fresh way, so that we can be a true example of the gospel, not just when it’s easy, but when it gets hard as well.
- In gratefulness for the gospel, and that we would live out the great opportunity to represent the gospel
- For Christians around the world living in hard situations that they would be strengthened in the hope of the gospel
- That the Spirit would calm us when we want to react out of fear, anger or doubt
- That we would be sensitive to the Spirit’s guidance in our lives
How do you spend your day? Create a pie chart to map out your typical day – 24 pieces of pie, each piece represents 1 hour. Take a moment to reflect on your day – is there anything you should change? What should you stop, start or continue doing? Create a new pie chart based on your reflection.
DAY 6: Saturday, April 18
Stand Firm, Together
Whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you.
– Philippians 1:27-28
As Paul was writing this letter to the church, he didn’t know if he would see them again. Although they were physically distant from each other they were standing firm together as one in the Spirit. This is such a great reminder that even in times like today, where we are unable to physically gather or be together, we are still together standing firm in the one Spirit, striving and praying together as one in the faith of the gospel.
Dear Holy Spirit,
We thank you that even though we may not physically be with one another, because of your Spirit dwelling within us we are together. Thank you that we can lift each other up from a distance and support each other as we stand firm together. We pray for anyone who is feeling alone or lonely that you will make your presence known to them. We pray that you will comfort them with your love, peace and joy. We pray our friends all over the world who are far from their family. Be we with them and give them strength.
- For unity and peace within the body of Christ
- That the Spirit would press on our hearts names of those we can be lifting up in prayer
- For the Church throughout Toronto, Canada and the all over the world, that they would strive for unity
- That we would have confidence to face the things that oppose us
Write down the names of two believers in your life and call them. Encourage them with a Bible verse and ask how you can be praying for them today.
DAY 7: Sunday, April 19
Suffer for His Name
For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him.
– Philippians 1:29
As humans we don’t want to suffer, but to suffer on behalf of Christ is a goal that we can aspire to achieve. The Bible is clear and says we will have trials and struggles here on earth, but we are never alone in these times. God has given us the body of Christ to reach out to, and he has given us himself. In times of struggle try not to run from it but press into God’s presence and rejoice in becoming more and more like Christ. What a joy it is, that we get to mirror his character here on earth.
Remind us of the bigger picture. Remind us that we are not here on earth to please ourselves or our families, but to please you. That you have placed us on this earth and that we have come to know you so that we can share you with others. Lead us by your purpose in our lives daily. Let us be focused, even in hard times that you are in control. Give us strength to stand firm in our faith and the gospel. We pray for missionaries all over the world who are facing hard times. Give them strength.
- That we would keep our eyes on You through all trials and struggles in our lives
- That we would encourage others to stand in their faith during hard times
- We pray for the Global Church that they will continue to share your Gospel
- That we could be an example of for others as look upon our lives
- That we would be open to talk about our struggles and how God has met us in those struggles
Write about a hard time in your past, when you went through something you thought would break you – and write about how Christ brought you through it. Make note of any growth that came from this experience and give thanks. Encourage someone by sharing your story with them today.