The Apostle Paul encourages the readers of his Epistle to the Philippians to be followers together with him and to them who walk according to his example. Among the readers are enemies of Christ, walking with them they do not meet the pattern that Paul exampled. In essence, Paul is setting the pattern of life, and they are to match up their walk to that pattern. Those that do not follow the pattern are probably representatives of wolves in sheep clothing.
This got me to thinking about patterns.
In every arena of manufacturing, before anything can be duplicated, there is a master pattern to follow. From a master recording in the music industry, copies are made so that duplicates can be created into CD’s that you and I might purchase. The master is often protected by distance, security and time. It is kept out of the hands of the one responsible to make the duplication so as to not alter the original. From something as simple as a plastic part that you find in your everyday life, to something as intricate as an engine block, everything is a duplicate of a master “form” that you will never handle in your normal life.
In a multitude of scripture, Jesus gives us examples on how to lead our lives. In one occurrence He instructs the disciples that He has given them an example of service to others (John 13:15) and they should to do as He has done. Paul is not one of these early disciples, but all that he is taught is by revelation from Christ (Galatians 1:12). He is examined several times by the “church” and they even rejoice in his life because he is no longer a persecutor of the church. (Galatians 1:22-24) He is sent by the church, along with Barnabas, as a chosen representative of the church. (Acts 15:22) The mark that Paul is an example to be followed is by the cut of the fabric of his life and how it duplicates the original. In fact, he even tells Corinth to be followers of him as he is a follower of Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1) He even instructs Timothy to be an example (pattern) of the believers to those that do not believe. (1 Timothy 4:12) Arguably, Timothy is an adept follower. Paul tells the Philippians that he will send Timothy to them because he is like-minded with Paul’s mind. (Philippians 2:19-23)
From an Original, duplicates are made, and from the duplicates of the original, additional copies are created that are in the form of the Original.
So, along with an exercise at school, this got me to thinking about Jesus as that ultimate example that we are to pattern our lives after. Since I’m am removed from His physical form by time and distance, I look to the Word to give me examples and patterns of life. Away from the Word, I look for others around me that are cut from the same fabric as He is, and those are the ones I am to follow. From those within my family, to other Christians that surround me, and even to those that are my leaders, I find plenty of examples that show me how to live.
Looking at Jesus for a moment, we find Him in prayer for His disciples. (John 17:6-26)
These very men that will undergo the ultimate test of discipleship in John 18. Obviously they have heard his prayer because John is able to record it. They hear the words He speaks. Maybe they do not fully comprehend the depth of these words, but they understand He is praying for them.
Praying for them. How many times have they listened to Jesus pray. He prays others (Lazarus, the sick, the dead, the messed up lives). Now He is praying for them. How many times have we prayed for others like Jesus prayed for them. We have prayed within our own spirit. We have prayed with a loud voice. Others have heard us. What are we praying for? How are we praying? What are we saying?
In John 17, Jesus begins a prayer of intercession for his followers. He intercedes for them, for their relationship with God and each other. For their ability to withstand the hatred and evil of the world. For their understanding of the truth. He prays for their unity and their comprehension of truth. He prays for their joy and perfection.
In fact, this example of prayer is a great pattern for us to follow as we begin to pray for someone or for something that we need God to intercede on in our behalf. Through my class exercise I setup these next few lines as a pattern from the original prayer of Jesus that I could use to pray for others.
- God, (manifest) make known Your Name to ________. (Insert name)
- You gave me words to use and I give these words to __________.
- I pray for ________, keep _________ (him/her/it) through the power and knowledge of Your Name.
- I pray that ________ will be “one” with your name.
- You are the Joy of my salvation, extend my joy and fulfill it into __________.
- Keep ________ from evil while you keep ___________ in this world. _________ is a part of this world right now but God you have given _________ your spirit and __________ is like the prodigal that the Father is looking for every day.
- Set __________ apart from this world through Your Truth.
- Those that ________ touches through life, I pray that they will see through _________ perspective and perceive _________ background because _________ has been touched by Your Spirit and Word.
- As your Glory is my glory, I pray that my glory will extend to ________ so that ________ may be One with you and be perfect.
- I pray that ________ be with me and you as I am with you.
- I have and will continue to declare your name to __________ for Love’s Sake.
Take a few moments to print this pattern. Fill in the blanks for someone you are heavy in spirit about. Pray a prayer of intercession for them.
It’s okay. Jesus did it.