Lent 2024 | Day 9

By Janet Nygren
Day 9 (Friday, Feb 23)

As I enter prayer now, I pause to be still; to breathe slowly, to re-center my scattered senses upon the presence of God.1

Pause and pray.

“I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, co-worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs… He was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow… Welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honor people like him, because he almost died for the work of Christ. He risked his life to make up for the help you yourselves could not give me.” (Philippians 2:25-30)

Think about it.

This week we are looking at Philippians to find and understand examples of the J-Curve: entering a pathway of suffering or dying to self that results in a “resurrection moment.” Today we are looking at what Paul Miller calls a Love J-Curve.2 In a Love J-Curve (the last of three types), we choose to embrace suffering for the sake of someone or something else. In today’s passage, there are actually two Love J-Curves. Epaphroditus risked his life for the sake of the community he left, resulting in care and encouragement for Paul. It was also costly for Paul to send him back, but he wanted Epaphroditus to be honored, and for his community to experience joy in receiving him back, likely an answer to their prayers. Just as Jesus died out of love for us, so we choose to suffer for those we love.


There are a lot of ways, small and large, that people sacrifice themselves for the sake of those they love. It seems like part of the job description for a spouse or parent. It’s more surprising when we do that for people we don’t know, or for people who have hurt us. Sometimes we are unaware of the cost that results in a benefit, or resurrection, for ourselves. Can you think of someone who has sacrificed significantly for your sake? Do you see the image of Jesus in them? Take a moment to honor that person and give thanks for their love.

Pause and Pray.

Jesus, help me to know you better.

“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.” (Luke 9:23-24)

  1. Prayer used daily in Lectio365 found at https://www.24-7prayer.com/resource/lectio-365/
  2. Paul E. Miller, J-Curve (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2019), 87.


David Edelstein - February 23rd, 2024 at 5:15am

I honor my dad this morning. He worked two jobs to support us when I was growing up.

Nick Tebordo - February 24th, 2024 at 5:18am

I thought I responded yesterday, but somehow it got erased. Thank you for sharing David. I know I prayed with you for your mother and your sister, but it is nice to get this glimpse of your father’s life. I can only imagine Paul’s sadness as he sent Epaphroditis back. I love to have my family and friends around me. I just texted with the Vissani family. I miss them. I miss having Dan at my side in ministry. But, they were called to Zambia and I open my hands and heart and bless them.




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