September 3, 2010

Building Strong Friendships in Christ

Pray for Us Today

“Brethren, pray for us.”

 1 Thessalonians 5:25

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    Have you ever said to your friends seeking prayer requests, “I don’t like to pray for myself and what I need because that is selfish”?  I have heard many people utter those words.  People who say that do not understand the basic concepts of prayer, and their view of God reflects their own ignorance of Him.

     In 1 Thessalonians 5:25, Paul not only invites prayer for himself, he commands it.  In fact, he commands the Thessalonians to pray for the entire ministry team.  When is the last time you asked for anyone to pray for you or your ministry team?  Are you even a part of a small group of men or women pursuing ministry together?  Paul knew the value of prayer and he knew that God loves to hear from His children and lead them in triumphant grace.

    In 2 Thessalonians 3:1, Paul again asks the Thessalonians to pray for himself and the ministry team.  He specifically seeks prayer for the spread of the word of the Lord, and rescue from perverse and evil men.  Paul’s prayer request here lets his friends in Christ share in God’s plans for the ministry team.

    Prayer also recognizes the need for God’s power in your life.  Without God working, your ministry will go nowhere.  You will not see people asking Christ to forgive them.  You will not see disciples being made in Christ.  You will not be forming new friendships in Christ and you will not watch the Body of Christ growing and being edified.  Everything that happens for good upon this earth, and in the universe, depends upon God as the source of that spiritual activity.  I praise God that Jesus said: “I will build my church” (Matthew 16:18).

       If you are reluctant to ask other people to pray for you, not only are you thinking that you run your life without God’s help, or at least conveying that impression to others, but you are also teaching others not to seek the prayer support of others.  In John 17:1, Jesus prayed for Himself.  He asked God the Father to glorify God the Son (Himself).  Of course Jesus prayed for Himself, and so should we.  In fact, we need to ask for our friends in Christ to pray for us.  Remember the words of God: “You do not have because you do not ask.” (James 4:2).  Your prayer requests for yourself should be one way you share God’s purposes for your life and ministry with your friends in Christ.  Furthermore, Jesus commanded His disciples to pray for themselves (Matthew 6:9-13; Matthew 26:41).

       Consider also the claim that: “I do not ask other people to pray for me because that would be selfish.”  We have already seen that Jesus prayed for Himself, and Paul commanded other people to pray for him and the ministry team.  I recall an illustration from a famous preacher.  He talked about a small fish taking water in a huge river through his mouth to breathe.  He breathed slowly, for fear he would exhaust all the oxygen in the water.  He had no idea of the tremendous, limitless supply of water and oxygen available to him.  People who never request prayer support for themselves must lack a sense of God’s power, His care for them individually, and His great personal love.  People somehow think that God must be too busy to listen to their prayers about themselves, and so live in ignorance of God.  God hears all things, knows all things, is present everywhere, has all power, and never changes.  He knows every thought you have, and knows all the future and all the past of your life.  In fact, he knows the number of hairs on your head at any given time, past, present and future (Matthew 10:30).  So, never let your small, fishy view of God hamper you from praying for yourself, and from sharing your prayer requests with other believers.

           So, we learn some more about building strong friendships in Christ.

    ●  Strong bonds of friendship form when we ask our friends in Christ to pray for us.

    ●  Strong bonds of friendship grow when we pray for one anther, and share from the heart our prayer requests with each other.   

    ●  We harm our bonds of friendship when we do not share our spiritual needs, purposes, and desires with our friends, and ask for their prayer support for our lives.

Application for Today

        Today, I want to share my prayer requests with my friends in Christ.  I love to pray for my friends, and frequently pray with friends in person and on the telephone.  Will you share your personal prayer requests with anyone today?


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