“For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again.” (II Corinthians 1:8-10, ESV)
Do others rely on your prayers when they face difficult situations? Not just your church family, but your neighbors and coworkers. It seems they know just the one to call when difficult things happen. They have faith in our prayers and know they can count on us.
I became friends with a lovely lady while doing volunteer work. Our religious backgrounds were different, but we both were strong believers in the power of prayer. A very serious situation came up when she took a moral stand at work, and her job was now at stake. She told me the day and time of her appointment with her supervisor and asked me to pray. I promised I would and then added, “Give me a call and let me know how it goes.” She looked puzzled. “Why would I need to do that? You’re going to pray.” We both prayed, and God took care of her situation. (And I learned a lesson about faith.)
Praying for others is a privilege. When others ask us to pray, they are showing confidence in our relationship with God. When my friend told me about the situation with her job, I was privileged to join with her in prayer. If someone tells us about a need, it’s quick and easy to say, “I’ll be praying for you.” (Or we put that little praying hands emoji on their social media page.) And then we forget. If necessary, write it down so you can say, “without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers” (Romans 1:9).
Praying for others is a mandate from God. “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men” (I Timothy 2:1). Prayer should be our first order of business and should reach beyond just “me and mine.”
We support our leaders with prayer. The passage in I Timothy 2 continues with, “For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” We pray for “all that are in authority,” not just those of our particular political persuasion or that we agree with. Prayer does make a difference.
We support the body of Christ with prayer. First Corinthians 12:26 reminds us to care for each other in the body during the good times and the bad times. An important part of that care is supporting them through prayer. “And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it” (NKJV).
In II Corinthians 1:8-10, the apostle Paul admitted that he was sometimes “burdened beyond our strength” and “despaired of life itself.” He endured countless situations in his travels to spread the gospel, yet he did not give up. Instead, he demonstrated determination and resilience. I believe one reason Paul was able to carry on despite the many hardships was because of the prayer support he received from the body of Christ.
When someone asks us to pray, then that’s what we must do. They are depending on us.
“Prayer is not the least we can do for someone; prayer is the most we can do.” (Unknown)