You Need Prayer, And So Do I
Saturday - August 22nd Scripture to Read for Today's Devotional: Ephesians 1:15-20
Today's Selection from our Sermon on the Mount Reading Plan: Matthew 6:1-4
Pray for one another.
One of my fondest memories from my formative years has to do with the church our family called home. Twin Branch Bible Church in Mishawaka had weekly Wednesday night prayer meetings. For most of the year, children and teens were a part of other ministries specifically designed for them on Wednesday nights. During the summer, there were no other Wednesday night programs other than the prayer meeting with the adults in the sanctuary of the church. Few families attended on Wednesday evenings in the summer. The Thornton family did, however.
Usually, there would be a 20-30 minute devotional from the pastor or another leader. People would then share prayer requests for 10-12 minutes. Once all the requests were shared, men would pray in groups of 3-5 on one side of the room, and women would pray in groups on the other side of the room. The prayer time would last between 30 and 45 minutes. Wednesday night prayer meetings were not easy services for kids to participate in or enjoy.
My little brother Troy and I would often look at each other, make faces back and forth, try to find some way to play, or just get restless. Dad would usually scold us in some way or another. Frankly, Troy and I often used the word "boring" with each other and sometimes (when we were brave enough) with Dad as we described those prayer meetings. For a couple of boys, the hour to seventy minutes seemed like an eternity.
While I do not recall one specific summer Wednesday night over another, I do look back now and understand the beauty of what I could not see as a boy. Now, I would love to pray with some of the giants of prayer in that little church. Men like Ray Shoemaker, Otto Eiswald, Don Fennimore, and Tom Hall (to name just a few) prayed for each other, their community, the world, our church's missionaries, and so much more.
I would love to hear them pray again. I would love to pray with them as an adult. These men have no statues of their likeness or plaques with their names to tell of their prowess in prayer. None of them had a best-selling biography written to share their deep faith with the world. But, they were men who followed Jesus, loved their church family, and prayed for one another.
We still need men and women who would pray like Ray Shoemaker, Otto Eiswald, Don Fennimore, and Tom Hall. Unless you have been marooned on a deserted island for the last decade, you know how badly our world needs prayer right now.
Throughout the Scriptures, we are told to "Pray for one another" (James 5:16). Repeatedly, the Apostle Paul pleads, "Brothers, pray for us" (see, for example, 1 Thessalonians 5:25; 2 Thessalonians. 3:1). His letters to various churches reveal his prayers for them (see Ephesians 1:15–23; Colossians 1:9–14). Even Jesus asked for the prayers of Peter, James, and John in the garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:38, 40–41). We need to pray for each other now more than ever. Living and loving like Jesus in our world today can be discouraging, frightening, and uncomfortable. We need to lift each other up before the Lord!
As our Take5s these last few days have focused on the "One Another" commands of the Bible, "Pray for one another" clearly helps bind them all together. Think about Christian brothers and sisters in your life. Think about those in your small group or from a former small group or Bible study. Think about some fellow followers of Jesus you have served alongside in ministry over the years. Pray for them. Take Ephesians 1:15-23 and pray that out loud for them. Send them an email or text, letting them know you have prayed for them. It will mean so much to them! Who knows, maybe they will let you know they have been praying for you too!
Praying for one another is essential to the life of the church. Pray for your fellow believers today!