In this video, Fr. Michael Rabahia, priest of the St. George’s Greek Orthodox Church in Homs, Syria, talks enthusiastically about a special form of thankfulness in prayer starting from the text in Philippians 1:3-6.
English translation by Waad Rabahie
Video source: Christian Studies Sy, November 2021
The apostle Paul is talking to us, as if we are the Philippians.
We read from Philippians chapter 1: 3-6. “I thank God upon every remembrance of you. Always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy.” What a nice statement! I understand that someone might love the other, might befriend the other and appreciate the other… But someone thanking God for the presence of the other… This is impressive!
Today I’m not thanking God for the fact that I’m praying. I’m not thanking God because He sent me some money. I’m not thanking God for having good children. Today “I’m thanking God upon every remembrance of you!” The sentence “I thank God upon every remembrance of you” means that I don’t forget you in my prayers. Means that you, the faithful, it’s something which the apostle Paul teaches us, when you pray and when you thank God, don’t forget the people around you. Don’t be selfish in your prayers and pray only for yourself. “Upon every remembrance of you”… Whenever I remember you, I thank God. It’s as if your existence in my
life is an act of praying. A movement that drives me to pray. Lord have mercy. How beautiful this is. And what a deep meaning it has.
Not only you love to communicate with God, the presence of others in your life is a tool for communicating more with God and for praying to God.
He continues “Always in every prayer of mine”. So you don’t pray for yourself? No! “Always… in every prayer of mine… making request for you all”.
For the peace of the whole world, let us pray to the Lord…
For pious and Orthodox Christians, let us pray to the Lord…
Let us pray… Let us pray… Let us pray… our prayers in Church are endless, for all the people in whatever situation, for the sick, for the suffering, for the afflicted, for those who have no one to remember them, even the fallen asleep. Every Saturday we commemorate them. Those who have someone to commemorate them and those who don’t have.
Your greatest prayer – faithful one – is not when you reflect on yourself only.
Your greatest prayer is to come out of yourself to God going through all people. Even the people who don’t love you… Remember them first of all in your prayers. Those who don’t like you and are upset with you. Remember them first of all in your prayers. He says “Always in every prayer of mine making request for you all.” He didn’t say for the good ones, the nice ones. He didn’t say for the sick, the travelers, the children, or the elder. But for you all…
Regardless of your situations, regardless of your health, regardless of your weakness and your strength.
And hear this… which makes me stop and think to myself “with joy”.
Meaning you know someone is sick and you remember them in your prayer with joy!
What about worrying? You know someone is sad and you remember them in your prayer with joy! You know someone is upset with you and you remember them in your prayer with joy! It needs training, much training. It’s not difficult to reach it, it just needs training. Training to pray for others and pray with joy.
And when you want to pray and remember others, don’t let your prayers turn into thoughts that come and go in your head: “He did this to me, she didn’t do this to me, and I’m praying for this one although he was very bad to me.” Many thoughts of this kind can come.
Your faith will not end here. Have this hope in joy. Pray to the Lord with joy. You will not stop here. You will continue this journey until the day of Jesus Christ in the Kingdom of Heaven.