Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today- August 19, 2011
“Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured. I vouch for him that he is working hard for you and for those at Laodicea and Hierapolis.” Colossians 4:12-13
Adversity has a way of bringing us to our knees in utter reliance on our Lord. Prodigal children bring parents together in prayer. Death convenes communities and families in prayer. Misunderstandings, mistreatment and misguided motives move hearts to pray. These aggressive prayers respond to rough circumstances with a need for holy help. But there is another type of laborious prayer that petitions Christ on behalf of others.
“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should” (Colossians 4:2-4).
Serious students of prayer know how to intercede on behalf of their brothers and sisters in the faith. They pray boldly for their friends and family to stand firm in the will of God—not wavering in face of the world’s trials and temptations. Plead for those whose body writhes in pain—go before God and pray for His healing. Maybe on Monday you pray for missionary friends, and Tuesday pray for truth to transform your child’s thinking.
Perhaps on Wednesday you gather your family together in prayer for our nation and leaders to follow the Lord’s principles as defined in the Bible. On Thursday consider praying for those outside the faith: friends and neighbors who need to know Jesus. Friday can be prayers for your church, a ministry and their need for encouragement and financial support—offer Saturday prayers for the poor and needy, and on Sunday pray for those who gather in worship to be ignited by the Holy Spirit to live by grace through faith.
Devote yourself to aggressive and grateful prayers—and all the while anticipate what Almighty God wants to do in and through your life. Remain steadfast in your allegiance to heaven, without worrying about what you can’t control. Earnestly pray for others and you will experience the joy of unselfish service and the exhilaration of Christ’s replies.
“The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops” (James 5:16b-17).
How can I increase the intensity of my prayers in a faith focused for others and their needs?
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