I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; Philippians 1:3-5

There are twenty voicemail messages on your phone. The first one is a message from a friend, named Barry, asking for twenty dollars. The next message is Barry asking if you can give him a ride to work. Frustrated, you skip to the next message only to hear Barry asking you to babysit. After erasing that message, you hear him asking for a place to spend the night. This goes on and on. Each message is nothing more than Barry pestering you for a gift or favor.

If this fictional scenario were real, then you would probably be very frustrated with Barry– maybe even fed up with him. You would consider his antics to be an abuse of your friendship. Let me change the terms of our scenario just a bit. What sort of messages do you send to God? Do they sound like Barry’s voicemails? If so, imagine how that makes God feel and how frustrated He must be with your lack of proper communication.

Oftentimes, we fall into the trap of praying selfishly. We allow our prayers to become nothing more than wish lists and cries for help. While God does want us to cry unto Him when we’re in trouble, there is much more to prayer than simply asking for aid. We should also engage in prayers of thanks, fellowship, and worship.

The Apostle Paul set the example for us in today’s Scripture passage. Paul constantly thanked God for the fellowship of believers. He made sure to lift up their needs, not his own, in prayer. Paul did this constantly, without ceasing, whenever he had cause to remember them. We ought to learn from his example and engage in more unselfish prayer.

Don’t be like Barry and leave God selfish voicemails. Engage in some real communication with God, and remember to lift up the needs of others. This re-invigoration of your spiritual life will be well worth the effort.

Devotional by Pastor C. J. Armstrong