Posted by: mikenicholsblog | August 24, 2011

truly rely, and pray

Every week tends to have a series of ebb and flows. We can all look back and clearly see the blessings and trials that made up each day. If not careful however, the trials that seem to linger will weigh us down. Sure, we are thankful for the blessings, but they seem to fade into the distance while our trials grow clearer by the moment. In the last three days, I have talked to three strong Christ-followers who are showing weariness from the journey. These three friends have all spent time in corporate ministry being paid to help others. It helped me to focus on the truth that trials come to all, we all need perspective, and we all need each other.

Reading the phrase, “so that we despaired even of life” would get anyone’s attention. Obviously a situation so dire that would cause a person to mouth such words is worth examining. Paul, in describing the hardships he endured in the province of Asia wrote these words to the church at Corinth. He also used the words, “…under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure” (2 Cor. 1:8b) to describe a bleak situation. Most of us probably haven’t experienced the depth of his difficulties, but we all have had our own “under great pressure” moments. And quite frankly, there have been times where we all wondered, “can I get through this?”

Paul’s perspective on his hardships has great meaning, and is wrought with wisdom. “…But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves, but on God, who raises the dead” (2 Cor. 1:9). Isn’t that what we should be doing all the time anyway? You, my three friends and I will live from one trial to another.  Only in truly relying on our Lord will there be sufficient energy to endure well. And don’t forget, He raises the dead! A full reading of the first chapter of II Corinthians relays a confidence that can be ours. Paul had no doubt that God who had delivered them from deadly peril would continue to do so. How is your confidence about your trials and your tomorrows?

There is more to our trial story. Namely, that we need each other. I doubt anyone would debate that point, but how do we need each other? Look at what Paul told the Corinthians. “…On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers” (2 Cor. 1:10b, 11a). Paul wanted them to know that their prayers would play a part in deliverance. I don’t know about you, but the words in bold have escaped my attention when reading this passage, maybe a hundred times. Paul made it crystal clear that he needed their help, in the form of their prayers. As you see others walking through trials, they need your help … your prayer help. Paul looked for the supernatural provision of God to come through prayer. So should we!

We may not feel like our prayer time will have that much effect on another’s situation. But we need to leave the results to God, and simply pray. Others need us…in prayer. Just as my three preacher friends need me to pray for them…someone needs your prayer time. And we all need to learn the lesson Paul conveys; to rely (truly rely) on God.

Trials will beset all of us; God can be trusted, and prayer really does work!

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