As she [Lydia] listened to us, the Lord opened her heart, and she accepted what Paul was saying. (Acts 16:14 NAS)[Paul said] "When I went to Troas to preach the good news about Christ, I found that the Lord had already prepared the way." (2 Corinthians 2:12 CEV)[Paul requested] Now I urge you, brethren, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God for me ... (Romans 15:30 NAS)Never give up praying. And when you pray, keep alert and be thankful. Be sure to pray that God will make a way for us to spread his message and explain the mystery about Christ, even though I am in jail for doing this. Please pray that I will make the message as clear as possible. (Colossians 4:2-4 CEV)
I preach, I write, I counsel, I encourage, I ... spend my life trying to touch people with the grace of Jesus. But, I am just a fallible, breakable, and limited human messenger. Without God's power in my meager words, my efforts will be limited, my words will be impotent, and my influence minor. Without the prayer support of brothers and sisters who intercede for me and the ministry I offer to the Lord, my impact for any lasting good would be laughable.
The lasting effectiveness of ministry by any of God's servants is determined by God's grace and power behind that ministry. Paul said this beautifully many years ago:
"We don't go around preaching about ourselves; we preach Christ Jesus, the Lord. All we say about ourselves is that we are your servants because of what Jesus has done for us. For God, who said, "Let there be light in the darkness," has made us understand that this light is the brightness of the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. But this precious treasure — this light and power that now shine within us — is held in perishable containers, that is, in our weak bodies. So everyone can see that our glorious power is from God and is not our own. (2 Corinthians 4:5-7 NLT)
We are going to do something a little differently this week. Rather than having different writers address various issues that we confront in our lives, this week our articles are going to be the prayers that have nurtured God's people, empowered the Lord's servants, and blessed his struggling communities of believers for centuries. We invite you to pray these prayers several times each day for yourself, for your family and friends, and for God's people as you find them appropriate. Let's join our hearts together in prayer in the Heartlight community — people from 180 plus nations united by a common desire to honor Jesus as Lord.
Finally, let the mighty strength of the Lord make you strong. Put on all the armor that God gives, so you can defend yourself against the devil's tricks. We are not fighting against humans. We are fighting against forces and authorities and against rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world. So put on all the armor that God gives. Then when that evil day comes, you will be able to defend yourself. And when the battle is over, you will still be standing firm. ... Never stop praying, especially for others. Always pray by the power of the Spirit. Stay alert and keep praying for God's people. Pray that I will be given the message to speak and that I may fearlessly explain the mystery about the good news. I was sent to do this work, and that's the reason I am in jail. So pray that I will be brave and will speak as I should. ... I pray that God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ will give peace, love, and faith to every follower! May God be kind to everyone who keeps on loving our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 6:10-13; Ephesians 6:18-20; Ephesians 6:23-24 CEV)