Prayer Text for Today is Romans 15:30-33
There is a sense in which prayer is an intensely personal experience. There is also a sense in which prayer is an intensely partnered experience. When we are swimming through the rough waters of grief, sorrow, pain, disease, or heartache we need a life preserver to be thrown our way. When we are too weak to pray God does help us in our prayers, but also our brothers and sisters in Christ surround us with intercessions lifting their voices on our behalf. There is nothing weak about reaching out to seek the prayers of others on our behalf.
This is what Apostle Paul does in our prayer text for today.
Now I appeal to you, brothers, through our Lord Jesus Christ and through the love of the Spirit, to join with me in fervent prayers to God on my behalf. Pray that I may be rescued from the unbelievers in Judea, that the gift I am bringing to Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, and that, by God’s will, I may come to you with joy and be refreshed together with you. The God of peace be with all of you. Amen.
Though Paul is strong and powerful in His commitment to Christ – and Christ is strong through him – yet he is humble. He reaches out and requests the prayers of the saints. The truth is our own prayers are effective beyond belief, but the accumulated prayers of believers gathered together in the presence of the Lord raising up your name is a powerful experience.
This brings to mind a time of terror in our country in September 2001. I was in Denver taking some courses and had no idea how I would get back to my Mississippi Coast home and the loved ones there. There were lots of questions that night about life in America and if it had changed forever. I asked around and found a church that was having a prayer service that night. Honestly, I can’t tell you what the brand name was on that church.
In the large sanctuary there were screens where video of airplanes crashing into buildings played and replayed. That felt so wrong to me in that moment … in that place of worship … but it drove us to our knees. There was prayer and song led from the pulpit. In a stunning moment that stirred my soul the leaders asked us to gather in groups of ten or twenty and to call upon the Lord for His mercy and help. Admittedly, this Church of Christ boy was a bit lost at that point! I watched as people gathered together in groups and began to pray aloud. A holy roar arose in that place as we entreated God in that place. Huddled in my group I began to pray aloud as well. I don’t remember a word … just hundreds of people lifting their voices and hands to God.
When they had prayed, the place where they were assembled was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak God’s message with boldness. ~Acts 4:31
Our cries lifted boldly as we contemplated what had happened in our world. It went on for quite some time. Remember Paul said “…join with me in fervent prayers to God on my behalf...”. When you are in the storm of your life I pray that people of prayer are surrounding you and lifting their voices. But I also pray that it doesn’t take a 9-11 size crisis to move us into fervent prayer for each other.
*Can we become such a people of prayer that we are in the habit of praying together when we gather together with Christian friends?
*Can we move toward greater abandonment in prayer and away from pre-fabricated empty expressions?
Study your prayers, a great part of my time is spent getting in tune for prayer. ~ Robert McCheyne
*Can we lose ourselves in prayer to the point that prayer is a time when we are moved to weep, not sleep?
*Can we keep praying until the place is shaken … seeking a Holy Spirit presence that convicts us of His message and sends us out to share with the broken world?
The prayer power has never been tried to its full capacity…if we want to see might wonders of divine power and grace wrought in the place of weakness, failure and disappointment, let us answer God’s standing challenge, “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and might things which thou knowest not. ~ J. Hudson Taylor
Have you ever thought how successful the Enemy has been that we avoid, shorten, and diminish our praying together? When the church is called together to pray, the turnout is often a precious few. As we enter into a new year let’s pray that God will help us create a culture of prayer among His people.