Helped By Prayer
2 Corinthians 1:11 (ESV) -- You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.
God is in control of the world. The apostle Paul spoke a lot about God’s sovereignty and rule over all things. His ministry was marked by a confidence that his labors would bear fruit because the Lord controlled it all. Yet this belief did not lead him to fatalistic conclusions. He believed that sharing the gospel, preaching, and prayers mattered. He believed this because the Scriptures say they do. He didn’t believe God’s total control and the prayers of God’s people were at odds with one another.
Our passage today shows us Paul’s convictions about the need for prayer. He writes to the church in Corinth, “You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.”
Notice that Paul says the believers in the church should help Paul and his companions by prayer. He wants them to petition the Lord for them. Why? Because he believed God was pleased to answer these types of requests. Did Paul also pray? Of course, but he knew that the prayers of God’s people had power in them. The reason they had power is because God graciously answered them.
Paul said the result of their prayers will be that many will give thanks on their behalf for the blessing granted. What is he talking about? He’s talking about the people who will come to saving faith through the ministry of Paul and others as a result of God answering the prayers of Christians, like at the church in Corinth. Through their prayers for Paul and his companions, the work of their preaching would reap a harvest. Those brought to faith would give thanks to Paul for coming to them, and as a result, give thanks also to the believers aiding Paul in prayer.
The beauty of this passage is that it shows the different layers involved in the work of the gospel going forward. Everyone has a part to play. We may not have the preaching power and persuasion of Paul, but we can pray for those that do. Paul reminds us that this is a real help. God answers those prayers and they serve as a part of the larger tapestry of the Spirit’s work to accomplish the work of Christ in the world.
Photo Credit: IMB
Reflection & Journal:
- What does this passage teach us about the efficacy of prayer?
- Why did Paul ask for their prayers? Why were his own not sufficient for him?
- What lessons does this teach us about our own roles in furthering the gospel and kingdom?
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