THE CALL TO PRAY FOR GOD'S SERVANTS
There are many passages in the Bible where Christians are urged to pray. The following verses focus primarily on the call to pray for those who serve the Lord. The implication here is that prayer is not only essential for God's work to be effective, but that PRAYER REALLY WORKS! Better put: God really works as we pray! (All passages are from the NLT)
Romans 15:30 - "Dear brothers and sisters, I urge you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to join in my struggle by praying to God for me. Do this because of your love for me, given to you by the Holy Spirit."
2 Corinthians 1:11 - "And you are helping us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety."
Ephesians 6:18-19 - "Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God's mysterious plan that the Good News is for Jew and Gentiles alike."
2 Thessalonians 3:1-2 - "Finally, dear brothers and sisters, we ask you to pray for us. Pray that the Lord's message will spread rapidly and be honored wherever it goes, just as when it came to you. Pray, too, that we will be rescued from wicked and evil people, for not everyone is a believer."
1 Timothy 2:1-4 "I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth."
James 5:16 - "Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.
Now, if God said we should pray and if God said that our prayers would be effective in seeing God's servants blessed, why don't we pray more for those who serve? What will be your response after reading these passages?
GOD'S RIGHTEOUSNESS GIVEN TO BELIEVING SINNERS
One of the great truths of the Bible is the righteous standing believers have in Christ. By trusting Christ as Savior, the believer receives the righteous position Christ has before His Father in heaven. Consider these passages of Scripture that describe this truth: (All passages quoted from the NLT)
Isaiah 61:10 - "I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God! For He has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness. I am like a bridegroom dressed for his wedding or a bride with her jewels."
Romans 1:17 - "This Good News tells us how God makes us right in His sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, 'It is through faith that a righteous person has life.'"
Romans 3:22 - "We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are."
Romans 5:1 - "Therefore, since we have been made right in God's sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us."
2 Corinthians 5:21 - "For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ."
Philippians 3:8-9 - "Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ, and become one with Him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God's way of making us right with Himself depends on faith."
The Bible clearly teaches that God uses His angels to minister to His people, sometimes clearly as guardians over their lives. Consider the following passages: (All taken from the NKJV)
Psalm 91:11 - "For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways."
Hebrews 1:14 - "Are they [angels] not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?"
Psalm 34:7 - "The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them."
2 Kings 6:17 - "And Elisha prayed, and said, 'Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.' Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha."
Matthew 4:11 - "Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him."
Matthew 18:10 - "Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven."
Acts 27:21-25 - "...Paul stood in the midst of them and said, 'Men...there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve, saying, 'Do not be afraid, Paul: you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you.' Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me.'"
This may be an unusual "Connection" but it comes from a current study on the subject of FELLOWSHIP. God established fellowship in the Garden of Eden.
Life was meant to be shared.
Genesis 2:18 NKJV - "And the Lord God said, 'It is not good that man should be alone. I will make him a helper comparable to him."
Adam was not complete without someone with whom he could share his life. Both he and Eve would learn the value of experiencing life together. They would be able to care for one another through all of life's experiences.
Philippians 1:3,5 NKJV - "I thank my God upon every remembrance of you...for your fellowship in the gospel..."
Paul, though unmarried, found his fellowship with other believers.
Life was meant to love and be loved.
Ecclesiastes 9:9 NKJV - "Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of your vain life which He has given you under the sun..."
Adam and Eve would experience the joy of loving and being loved and eventually passing this on to their children.
1 Thessalonians 4:9,10 NKJV - "But concerning brotherly love...you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; and indeed you do...But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more."
Believers in Christ also experience the joy of being loved and the privilege to share their love with others.
Life was meant to serve and be served.
Adam and Eve would also experience the reality of their differences and how they could use their own abilities to serve and bless the life of their partner.
Ephesians 4:16 NKJV - "...the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies...does its share, causes growth of the body..."
Paul speaks of the mutual ministry of believers to one another: serving each other and being served by each other.
These are just a few ways God would show mankind the joy of Fellowship which He established in the Garden of Eden.
When you read a title like this what comes to your mind? Do you think of seeking God to save you? Do you think of other people who need to seek God to save them? Or, do you remember the time when you sought the Lord for your salvation? What I'm really talking about here includes all the above, but there is another purpose here as well: Seeking God as a man who has already found great riches and is "searching for more!" My desire is to encourage all people, not just the unsaved, but the saved as well, to seek God in order to know Him better, to enjoy fellowship with Him more, and to learn so much about Him that you can share what you learned with others!
Meditate on each of the following passages every day this week.
God Longs for People to Seek Him
Psalm 53:2 NLT - "God looks down from heaven on the entire human race; He looks to see if anyone is truly wise, if anyone seeks God."
People Only Have a Temporary Opportunity to Do So
Isaiah 55:6 NLT - "Seek the Lord while you can find Him Call to Him now while He is near."
The Promise of God to Those Who Seek
Deuteronomy 4:29 NLT - "...And if you search for Him with all your heart and soul, you will find Him." Jeremiah 29:13-14a NLT - "'If you look for Me wholeheartedly, you will find Me. I will be found by you,' says the Lord..."
Seek Him When You're Spiritually Dry and in Trouble
Psalm 63:1 NLT - "O God, You are my God; I earnestly search for You. My soul thirsts for You; my whole body longs for You in this parched and weary land where there is no water." Psalm 77:2 NLT - "When I was in deep trouble, I searched for the Lord..."
Make a Promise to Seek God Daily
2 Chronicles 15:12 NLT - "Then they entered into a covenant to seek the Lord...with all their heart and soul." Isaiah 26:9 NLT - "All night long I search for You; in the morning I earnestly seek for God."
As you start this New Year may your hunger for God and your desire to know Him better be one of the most important resolutions you'll make, not just for a year, but for the rest of your life!