The book of Philippians is a letter written by the apostle Paul to a church he cherished, and that also cherished him. Paul’s relationship with the Philippians is the kind of friendship that picks up right where it left off—full of joy, fondness, and gratitude. Paul talks about the gratitude and joy he has when he prays for the Philippians. The theme of joy runs throughout the book.
Since Philippi was a Roman colony, it would have been immersed in its culture and traditions. It was a trade route through Asia Minor. It was a town with people of various classes and standings, a few of whom we meet in Acts 16. Lydia and the Philippian jailer had little in common before they followed Jesus.
The book of Philippians is commonly known as the Letter of Joy. It earns the name partially because it’s one of Paul’s most positive books. Unlike all of Paul’s other letters, it doesn’t carry heavy criticism for the church that received the letter. One of the ways Paul shows his positive attitude toward the Philippians is through his word choice. We can find the word—Joy—14 times in both noun and verb forms throughout the letter. What’s most astounding is that Paul writes about joy while in prison.
Paul starts off his letter by greeting and praying for the beloved church. Paul talks about the gratitude and joy he has when he prays for the Philippians. Paul’s relationship with the Philippians gives us a glimpse of a healthy Christian community. One of the most loving things we can do is pray for the Christians.
Prayer has always been an essential marker of God’s people. From the earliest days of Israel to Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane to the church in Acts, the people of God cry out to him in prayer. Prayer can be as simple as talking to God about your day and as powerful as beseeching God for a miracle.