Devotional - 1997-03-07 - "Pray for us"
1 Thes 5:25 - Brethren, pray for us. (NAS)
These words come from the mind of Paul the Apostle. These words come very near the close of his letter that opened:
1 Paul and Silvanus and Timothy to the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace. (1 Thes 1:1 NAS)
Three men of God on a missionary journey. They were traveling in a world that either considered their words has hearsay or treason, or that they had simply lost their minds. And still Paul was able to send Timothy back to Thessalonica with the greeting, "Grace to you and peace." Both were provided by God to these men in large measure as they traveled to towns that would force them to leave at best, or stone them and leave them for dead.
The church had been planted in short order at Thessalonica, and Paul and his companions were forced to leave by the leaders of the town. The brand new Christians there were probably glad to see Timothy again, hungry for more of the truth of God and Jesus Christ. They were babes in Christ in every sense of the word. And yet, Paul desired their prayers of support. He did not pass them over as too new in the faith, or inexperienced in prayer warfare. He knew that he was in a battle for his mind, the world and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
II Th 3:1-2 Finally, brethren, pray for us that the word of the Lord may spread rapidly and be glorified, just as it did also with you; 2 and that we may be delivered from perverse and evil men; for not all have faith. (NAS)
Even as Paul sends a letter to correct misunderstandings to the Thessalonicans, he again seeks their support in prayer. Again he does not discount their prayers as tarnished by unsound doctrine, or lacking in understanding. He explains "… and that we may be delivered from perverse and evil men; for not all have faith." These men Paul and his companions sought protection from would just as soon entrap the missionaries into some situation and discredit their ministry.with their perversions.
Heb 13:18-21 - Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a good conscience, desiring to conduct ourselves honorably in all things. 19 And I urge you all the more to do this, that I may be restored to you the sooner. 20 Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, 21 equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen. (NAS)
Once again, Paul is asking his readers for prayer. His concerns are conscience, conduct and honor. As we sit on the edge of the 21st century, are we not in the same situation as Paul and his associates? How many pastors, evangelists and singers have we seen fall? These people are all ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, living in the spotlight and under great scrutiny. I think their plea would be the same as Paul's, "Pray for us." If Paul or Peter or any of those first century leaders had been caught in a snare, the damage to the gospel would have been huge. God selected these people, from Mary Magdeline to John, guarding their hearts and minds every step of the way. They prayed for each other and asked for prayers from those they ministered to as they went on their way.
Do we pray enough for these people in leadership? We are often reminded to pray for our local ministers, leaders of our government and for our brothers and sisters around us. But there is a group of men and women who labor for Jesus Christ, who do not have constant local support. They spend time on the road going to meet people and preach, teach or sing the gospel where people will come to hear and be built up or listen for the first time. The world hates them and places them in situations where they could stumble. Without our prayers they can begin to believe that they are the deserving of the praise at the end of the meeting or applause at the end of the concert. They are our brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ, and deserving our our prayers. And just as Paul asked, they ask.
Lord Jesus, please remind us gently that the people we look to for leadership and our spiritual food, both locally and those who travel for You, are made of the same flesh and blood we are. They are tempted in the same ways, possibly more often and more subtly. Help us to keep them in our hearts and prayers as they minister to us and equip us for Your service. Amen.