The Finale

"Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord." Philippians 3:1

Famous last words are almost as important as a baby's first words. I recall my Dad preparing for the birth of our first born, Ashley. He told me, firmly, that he and Mom didn't want the baby being taught any pet names for them. He thought Grandfather and Grandmother would do. It seemed a bit peculiar, but I didn't say anything. After Ashley was born, and shortly before reaching that stage of repeating short phrases, I found Dad holding her up to his face and repeatedly urging her on with, "Can you say 'Pappaw?' " I said over his shoulder, "See if she can say, 'Grandfather.' " She ended up saying, "Pappaw." She still does. Shock face! True story. Go figure.

Paul's first encounter with The Risen Christ knocked him off his high horse, and brought him to his knees. He never got over Jesus, and never stopped rejoicing at the honor of being allowed to enter into His Presence.

Note to self: Neither should you.

Regardless of any current crisis or contentious person, Paul found joy in it, by walking with Jesus through it. Whatever brought him to Jesus was capable of bringing joy to him, because it brought him to the end of himself.

This is the essence of prayer. Prayer brings people to the end of themselves and to the beginning of God. For Paul, everything that had any real meaning in life began with Jesus. When he met Jesus on the Road to Damascus, a conversation began with Jesus that never ended until Paul took his final breath. Here is how it all began.

"Who are you, Lord?" Saul asked. "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting," he replied." Acts 9: 5 The Book of Acts records the next words of Paul as the proclamation, "He is the Son of God." Acts 9:20

Prayer reminds the prayer warrior that the battle is not his, it is the Lord's. The victory has been won by The Champion, and it is shared with those who stand with Him. Prayer may begin in a spirit of desperation, but when the conversation focuses on The Champion and not the crisis, it always leads to celebration.

For Paul, The Finale was the victory of Jesus over death. Prayer leads to rejoicing because it leads to knowing Jesus. The Risen Christ still releases the power of His resurrection into the lives of those who call Him Lord, and proclaim Him as The Son of God.

Rejoice carries with it the concept of repetition. When a soldier is out of bullets, he reloads. When a prayer warrior experiences a loss of joy, he must rejoice.

Joy is the sense of well-being, that comes from the state of security that results from being in submission to or in compliance with the orders and the authority of The Champion. When out of joy, rejoice.

More than mere happiness or gladness, the word "rejoice" was used as a salutation at the beginning of a letter, a greeting at the meeting of a friend, or a salute given to a master. Prayer warriors pray and obey. When they rejoice, they salute The Champion. It is a sign of disrespect to panic in His Presence, and an act of rebellion to refuse to obey His orders.

No matter what the crisis or contention, let the conversation with The Champion commence. Prayer warriors aren't intimidated by the enemy. They follow the last order they were given. The Finale is the last word on the subject. "Rejoice in the Lord!" TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!