2014-07-31 - Pray for Us
Originally Published 1997-03-07
1 Thess 5:25 Brethren, pray for us.
Paul believed in the power of prayer. He had born witness to the answer of prayer in his own life as the scales feel from his eyes at Ananias' prayer as the Lord commanded (Acts 9:17). To the church at Thessalonica Paul laid out a number of characteristics of christian life including a request that the church pray for him and his group of missionaries.
How many times in a day, week, month or year do we ask someone to pray with or for us?
This is becoming a clear indication of spiritual health to me. Now, I am not suggesting that asking someone to pray without cause just to run up the count, probably making a nuisance of ourselves in the process. However, in our self-reliant culture we often do not go to prayer until we have exhausted all other avenues or responses. That brings to mind the idea of being a noisy gong, or a clanging cymbal (1 Cor 13:1).
The hymn writer penned the words, "Oh what peace we often forfeit, Oh what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry, Everything to God in prayer." (What a Friend We Have in Jesus; Joseph Scriven, 1820-1886 and Charles Converse, 1832-1918). As often as people I meet say they don't enjoy the old hymns I shake my head in wonder that they have obviously missed the lyrics full of insight and inspiration. I would add a line about the joys we have missed as well.
Prayer is fading as quickly as handwriting. We all type so much now that many are becoming more adept at the keyboard than they are with their own ability to write, not just neatly but legibly at all. May of us fumble in our prayers before God due to our own abandonment or near abandonment of the practice - and this to our own detriment. This should not be work or simple duty. We are meeting with someone Who cares about us more than we can comprehend. He has amazing things to share with us and teach us, and yet we do not have time for the appointment.
Do we only go to prayer in our need, or when asked by someone else in their need?
Prayer for a friend or coworker in need is a perfectly valid cause to pray. But God does not want to only be a magic potion to solve our problems and have our relationship with Him live on the shelf. He loves us so much that He sent His beloved Son Jesus to die in our place. The goal in sending Jesus as the perfect sacrifice was to reopen the personal relationship between God and the individuals in the human race - including you and me.
We cram out days into our electronic calendars, and run from place to place often with purpose and careful planning, and also without asking God to order our steps. Why do we not go to the Lord much earlier, or even first before we begin whatever the endeavour we are starting?
This may be an odd thought. I wonder how many times God redirects our paths (Prov 3:5-7) through missed trains for flights, changed meeting times, etc. where He is trying to move us like a chess piece into someone's path and we immerse ourselves in prayer asking Him to correct what He has redirected frustrated at the change. We need to be open to His leading. Do we have things that we need to accomplish? Sure. My suggestion is that we be open to the idea that not all our scheduling problems are necessarily without purpose or a guiding hand .
Lord - Help us to be more mindful of You, Your presence and desire You have for a constant daily conversation with us in prayer throughout the day. Amen.
Grace & Peace,
All verses are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) unless otherwise noted.