Dear brothers and sisters,
We will be in 2 Corinthians looking at how God works mightily through our prayers, especially during times of suffering. There is a strong temptation for us to ignore prayer during times of extreme trials and difficulties. We get so stressed out and weary, and then we foolishly decide that we don’t want to expend any energy to pray. We doubt God’s love, care, and provision for us. But this is unwise. In fact, it is outright spiritually dangerous. To neglect prayer at such crucial times would be tragic. It displays a lack of trust in our good and holy Father, who sent His Son to die for us. So…..how do we get out of such a spiritual rut?
We get our eyes off of us and onto Him! We approach the throne. We pray. Even if we don’t feel like it. We still pray. And we ask others to pray with, and for, us. This is where the body of Christ comes in and helps us. In the passage below, we see the importance of corporate prayer in how God delivers Paul from his perilous circumstances. Paul earnestly desired the prayers of the saints in Corinth, because he knew that God works powerfully through prayer.
Paul, like anyone else in his situation, wanted to be rescued. But it wasn’t just for the sake of being rescued. Look at verse 11. It was so that God would receive thanks. When he appeals to the Corinthians for prayer, Paul wasn’t just thinking of his own comfort and well-being. He wants the compassion and power of God to be acknowledged and magnified. He wants God to receive the thanks and praise He is due, both for past and future deliverance. Notice how Paul expects God to act on his behalf at the end of verse 10.
As God answers our own corporate prayers, we ought to be people who express praise and thanksgiving for his many mercies. Like Paul, we need to be grateful for God’s deliverance from difficult circumstances (if He so chooses). But we must also be zealous for our church families to remember God……. first and foremost! Notice how Paul sees purpose both in His suffering and in God’s deliverance. We need to have the same Biblical mindset.
Matthew Henry says this about verse 11: “Past experiences encourage faith and hope, and lay us under obligation to trust in God for time to come. And it is our duty, not only to help one another with prayer, but in praise and thanksgiving, and thereby to make suitable returns for benefits received. Thus both trials and mercies will end in good to ourselves and others.”