The Relationship

"For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ." Philippians 1:19

"Your prayers and the provision of the Spirit" are the essential signs of a personal relationship with Jesus. They are the vital signs of a healthy Christian and the foundation of a healthy church. Wise prayer warriors enlist the former, and never let the enemy cut off their supply lines to the latter.

Paul had an over-riding confidence in the knowledge that his life and times were guided by the hand of a Sovereign God. He was not a helpless victim, or a hopeless twig floating down river to eventual destruction. He was a man on a mission, with a message of hope, and he was indestructible until God's purpose for his life had been accomplished. As Ron Dunn so often preached, Paul may have been in prison, but he was "Chained to the Chariot."

Prayer is all about a relationship with Jesus. It is not a cash cow to be milked, a system to be worked, or merely a principle to be applied. Too often, prayer becomes more about "my deliverance" and less about "the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ."

Note to self: For you to know more about the provision of The Spirit, prayer must be less about your will, and more about God's will. Jesus prayed, "Not MY will, but THY will be done." Follow his lead, and lean into The Yoke relationship.

As pleased as Paul was that The Gospel was being spread throughout the Praetorian Guard, he was still interested in deliverance from his guards and his chains. This didn't make him less honest to God. Prayer should always be an honest expression of one's heart-felt desires.

God is not fooled by prayers filled with false piety or empty platitudes, He already knows the desires of the heart before words come out of the mouth.

Paul wanted to be delivered. That is understandable. He called for people to intercede for "my deliverance." That is commendable. He expected "the provision of The Spirit." Jesus is dependable.

Prayer provided Paul the peace of God, while waiting for His timing for Paul's deliverance. In spite of the knowledge that he was expendable, Paul's words do not sound fatalistic, but expectant. Prayer has a way of instilling hope into the hopeless.

The prayers of his friends and the provision of The Spirit took the sting out of Paul's daily confrontation with death. He went to bed chained to a Roman guard, and woke up in the same condition. The delay of Paul's deliverance didn't cause Paul to despair of God's denial of it. He just kept calling on his friends to pray, and and trusting in the provision of The Spirit to deliver him.

Prayer is not just a death-defying discipline. It is a life-giving relationship. Paul drew hope from the intercession of believers, but his personal relationship with Jesus was experienced by personally praying for "the provision of The Spirit of Jesus Christ."

The prayers of others are incredibly encouraging. Anyone who has ever received a phone call, or a prayer card from a friend knows the truth of this statement. Still, they are no substitute for calling out to God for "the provision of The Spirit of Jesus Christ."

The greatest answer to prayer is a poor substitute for The Presence of Jesus. Paul drew strength from the prayers of others. Still, his own prayers were not so focused on his deliverance, as they were focused on The Deliverer.

Undeniably, prayer is a key to provision. Seasoned prayer warriors don't treat prayer as a key to the Treasury Room, but they use it to unlock the arsenal of the weapons of The War Room. Prayer is not about financial welfare, as much as it is about spiritual warfare. Prayer opens up the door to a personal conversation with The Provider. He releases courage into the heart of the prayer warrior to stand with Him in the battle line.

The Spirit of Jesus Christ is The Champion, and The Captain of The Yoke. In both cases, prayer should lead to faithfully lining up behind The Champion for God's protection, and daily leaning into The Yoke, for His direction.

Paul trusted in the prayers of his friends, and the provision of The Spirit for God's direction, protection, and correction. God's delay in providing deliverance does not mean His denial of it. Through prayer, He offers prayer warriors, 'the provision of The Spirit of Jesus Christ." TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!