I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. (Phi 1:3-5 NIV)
This is quite an approach against all of us, who wouldn’t even be able to say that they have done that for their most beloved fellow kin, whereas St. Paul does it even for the entire congregation in Philippi. He emphasizes that he joyfully prays for them all and that in every prayer for them, this prayer mounds into joyful gratitude. To pray in this way – often, joyfully, gratefully – that was the big strength and virtue of the apostle St. Paul. Do we pray joyfully for others – even entire congregations? Do we pray often and does our prayer mound into words of thanks and gratitude? Who of us would have the good conscience to admit this? Most often we are so weak and poor with regards to prayer – especially if it is for others and where gratefulness is concerned. We compare poorly with the apostle. How will this fare even further if we realize the reason for the apostles gratitude? He is grateful for their “partnership in the gospel”. This is the reason for the apostle to rejoice and give thanks and praise to the Lord of the Church. This very fact we most often take for granted like the air we breathe. This partnership in the gospel is obviously a very high and precious gift and treasure for the Church and all its people. This partnership in the gospel is actually the partnership with God too. As we pray it is appropriate that we don’t overlook this partnership in the gospel and with God. It is something he has blessed our Churches and congregations with too – and in most abundant measure.
O Lord God you have called and justified your people. We are to trust in your faithfulness and wait for your grace always as we receive wonderful gifts and treasures from your fatherly goodness. You are our light, strength and gracious Father. Grant that we remain grateful for your grace and mercy – especially for the partnership in your most holy gospel and forgiving presence. Amen. (Hermann Bezzel)
Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow; Praise Him, all creatures here below; Praise Him above, ye heavenly host; Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. (Thomas Ken, 1637-1711)
This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for the twenty second Sunday after the high holiday of the Holy Trinity. It is found on Pg. 369 in Lob sei Dir ewig, o Jesu! (Eternal Praise to you o Jesus!) edited by A. Schuster and published in the Freimund Verlag, Neuendettelsau 1949.