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Friday, November 23, 2007

Pray For Me

"Pray for me." (Eph 6:19)

Paul repeatedly asked those to whom he was writing to pray for him and for those working alongside him (Col 4:3, 1 Thes 5:25, 2 Thes 3:1).

Why is it then that we sometimes find it so difficult to ask for prayer for ourselves or even for our loved ones?

Self-Sufficiency
Perhaps we want to deal with the situation in which we find ourselves without seeking extra support. Either we think we should be strong enough in ourselves and not require divine intervention at all or, if we do need some help from God, we want to believe that our own prayers are sufficient and we don't need the prayers of others. There is a word for this - pride. "I can do all things," but only through Christ who strengthens me (Phil 4:13). It is our brothers and sisters who are the body of Christ and strength comes when we ask them to join in prayer with us for our needs. It is foolishness to think we can do it all on our own.

If the great apostle to the Gentiles, the writer of more than a quarter of the New Testament, a man who had experienced indescribable visions of glory could ask for prayer from those he had preached the gospel to, then surely we can humble ourselves to ask our brothers and sisters in Christ to pray for us in our need.

Fear
Another factor is fear. We are sometimes afraid to make ourselves vulnerable to one another because we don't want to be hurt or rejected. It is desperately sad that within the family of believers we sometimes have to be cautious about how much we share and with whom because not everyone is as trustworthy as they should be. If we have been honest with another Christian about a struggle we have faced and sought support and prayer only to be told how weak we are or to be gossiped about, it becomes so much harder to take the risk to be vulnerable again.

But this is precisely what the devil wants. He wants us to be isolated from one another, to feel that we are alone in our problems, that no-one else struggles with the same failures and sins that beset us. He knows the power of prayer and he doesn't want us to have access to the divine power which is made available through prayer. Jesus said that if we agree with one another in prayer, whatever we ask for will be done (Matt 18:19).

Prayer College Assignment
How reluctant are you to request prayer for yourself? If it is something you rarely do, try to find an opportunity to ask someone to pray for you. If you're not aware of any specific needs, simply ask them to pray one of Paul's prayers for you - that you will be filled with joy and peace (Rom 15:13). If you have a particular struggle at the moment, ask the Lord to guide you to the right person who can support you and stand with you in prayer. A mature believer will consider it a great privilege to be asked to pray for you in this way.

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