WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
SEPTEMBER 2, 2021
TOPIC: STRIVING TOGETHER WITH OTHERS IN PRAYER
BY T. O. BANSO
“Now I beg you, brethren, through the Lord Jesus Christ, and through the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in prayers to God for me” (Romans 15:30 New King James Version).
Christians are called to live a selfless life, not a selfish life. Our focus should not be solely on what benefits us. God’s command is that we should consider the interests of others. “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4 New King James Version). This is unlike the practice in the world.
Romans 12:10 says, “Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another” (New King James Version). Both in the Old and New Testaments, the Bible says we should love our neighbours as yourself (Leviticus 19:18; Matthew 19:19; 22:39; Mark 12:31; Romans 13:9; Galatians 5:14; James 2:8).
One of the ways that Christians can show selflessness is by praying for others. Some people’s understanding of prayer is about making requests to God concerning themselves. Others know about asking people to pray for them but they never pray for others. We should not be selfish in our prayers.
The apostle Paul prayed for the church. Paul wrote to the Colossians, “For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding” (Colossians 1:9 New King James Version). Paul also records his prayer for the church in Romans 1:9, Ephesians 1:16, Philippians 1:4, Colossians 1:3, and 1 Thessalonians 1:2. He also referred to his prayer for Philemon in Philemon 4.
Paul did not only pray for the church, he also requested the church for prayer. In 1 Thessalonians 5:25, he said, “Brethren, pray for us” (New King James Version). Also in 2 Thessalonians 3:1, he said, “Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you” (New King James Version). Furthermore, Paul said in Colossians 4:3-4 says, “Don’t forget to pray for us, too, that God will give us many opportunities to preach about his secret plan — that Christ is also for you Gentiles. That is why I am here in chains. Pray that I will proclaim this message as clearly as I should” (New Living Translation).
The Bible tells us that the church is like the human body, which consists of many parts and all the parts work together. The church is the body of Christ. “For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ” (1 Corinthians 12:12 New King James Version). There should be no schism in the body, but the members should have the same care for one another (verse 25). Praying for one another in the church is one of our primary duties as part of caring for one another. Verse 26a says if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it.
Writing to the Roman Christians, Paul said, “Now I beg you, brethren, through the Lord Jesus Christ, and through the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in prayers to God for me” (Romans 15:30 New King James Version). The diversity in the body of Christ demands unity. Paul pleaded with the church to strive together with him in prayers to God for him. Also, we must strive together with one another in prayers to God for one another. We need one another.
Strive in prayers with other believers who may request you to pay with them or whom you know you should join in prayer given their situations, whether you know them or not. You don’t know what your intercession can accomplish in their lives.
The book of Colossians refers to a Christian who strived in payers for others. “Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ, greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God” (Colossians 4:12 New King James Version). Epaphras, Paul’s dear fellow servant and a faithful minister of Christ (Colossians 1:7) probably founded the Colossian church. He struggled on their behalf in his payer.
Don’t let your prayers centre on yourself only. Strive together with others in prayer for them. Paul told the Corinthians, “He [God] will rescue us because you are helping by praying for us. As a result, many will give thanks to God because so many people’s prayers for our safety have been answered” (2 Corinthians 1:11 New Living Translation).
In Acts 12, when Peter was kept in prison, constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church (Acts 12:5). The night the angel went to release Peter from the prison, the church was still praying but Peter was sleeping! He must have been tired, expecting whatever could happen. Herod was planning to bring him out and kill him as he had beheaded James.
Acts 12:6-10 says, “And when Herod was about to bring him out, that night Peter was sleeping, bound with two chains between two soldiers; and the guards before the door were keeping the prison. Now behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shone in the prison; and he struck Peter on the side and raised him up, saying, ‘Arise quickly!’ And his chains fell off his hands. Then the angel said to him, ‘Gird yourself and tie on your sandals”; and so he did. And he said to him, ‘Put on your garment and follow me.’ So he went out and followed him, and did not know that what was done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. When they were past the first and the second guard posts, they came to the iron gate that leads to the city, which opened to them of its own accord; and they went out and went down one street, and immediately the angel departed from him” (New King James Version).
The believers were still striving in prayer when Peter arrived at the venue of their prayer meeting. They couldn’t believe that God had answered their prayer while they were still praying. It was a miracle! When a small girl recognized Peter’s voice at the door as he was knocking and told those praying, they waved it aside and said it was his angel. The Lord will answer your prayer speedily. Your answers will manifest while you are still praying in Jesus’ name.
But suppose, Peter was sleeping and the church he depended on for prayer were sleeping. Probably the story could have ended differently. Sometimes those in some situations could be so weary that they cannot pray and depend on the prayer support of fellow believers. We must support them with our prayer. We must not fail them.
For those who are still striving in prayer, we must strive together with them in prayer to God for them. “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16 New King James Version). The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, I repent of my selfishness in not striving together with others in prayer to God for them. Holy Spirit, I receive Your help to join others in prayer for them. Father, all those who are in captivity or dangerous situations, intervene and set them free; deliver them speedily.
(For over 600 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
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