April 27, 2022

A Second Language


Philippians 1:3-5

While being chased by a dog, the cat turned and “barked” at it. The dog, totally confused and now scared, ran to hide behind a bush. The caption of this newspaper cartoon read, “It helps to know a second language.”

Paul’s second language was prayer with thanksgiving and joy.

Paul was in the Philippi prison when an earthquake caused havoc ten years earlier. The prison cells opened, and the jailer, thinking Paul and Silas had escaped, almost killed himself (the penalty for losing a prisoner). Instead, he found Paul and Silas were praising and giving thanks to God for being able to save a slave girl from divination. They practiced what they preached—giving praise and thanksgiving in all circumstances.

The jailer and the community began a church in response to Paul and Silas’ work. Now, from their jail in Rome, Paul and Timothy express their thanks and joy for this Philippian community. No matter his circumstances, Paul finds something for which to be thankful and expresses it with joy—his second language.

Paul says it this way in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “. . . give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”


  • What is something that is going great in your life right now? How about pausing and giving thanks for it?
  • What is something that is not going great in your life right now? Like Paul, how about pausing and giving thanks to God each time this thing surfaces in your consciousness?


  • Ask each family member to list things for which they are thankful. As each person mentions something, the whole family then prays out loud, “For _____, we thank you, God!”
  • Ask each family member to mention one or more things that are not going well. After a person mentions something, the family then prays out loud, “We don’t understand this, and we know you didn’t cause this, but we give you thanks, God, for what you will do with it!”


Dear loving Creator, thank you for your gracious love. Your love gives me so many blessings, for which I am very thankful. There are things in my life, God, that I don’t understand and wish would go away. Yet, I praise and thank you, knowing that you will transform such experiences into triumphant victories. In your gracious name, I humbly ask. Amen.


Are you inspired by the Daily Field Guide devotions each week? You can inspire others in the congregation with your reflections on God’s word by becoming a Field Guide author! Contact Jason Alteri at jalteri@bumc.net to learn more.