On Sunday, I had the privilege of preaching out in another church. It was a joy to be able to serve another church that way. And an equal privilege to be invited specifically because that church are continuing to pray for us. One thing I have never tired of in ministry is hearing that other people are praying for our little church in our corner of the world.
Sometimes we wonder why things are happening as they are in the church. Why is the Lord doing this or that among us? We aren’t complaining – we are often grateful – but nonetheless wonder. But then we find out that people have been praying specifically for that thing. That is a real privilege.
It is through prayer that we recognise the work really isn’t ours to begin with. We rely on the Lord. Unless he is at work, nothing will work. Unless he is building his house, the labourers build in vain. And nothing is a better reminder of that than when specific prayers are prayed and then answered.
When we recognise the work really isn’t ours, it makes the need for meaningful partnerships all the more clear. Having people pray for us is utterly vital for anything actually happening. We can pray about things – and we do – but it is all the better when a whole army of people are praying along with us. Paul recognises this need in 2 Corinthians 1:10-11:
He has delivered us from such a terrible death, and he will deliver us. We have put our hope in him that he will deliver us again while you join in helping us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gift that came to us through the prayers of many.
He recognises that his ministry is actually helped by the prayers of other believers. He is also clear there will be greater thanksgiving because the Lord chose to work through the prayers of many people. God is glorified as his people pray and then he is pleased to answer their prayers. They are actually included in the work and God receive more glory as they perceive him actually working through their prayers.
So, for this reason, we are delighted when people want our prayer letter. We are so pleased when we hear that people are praying for us. And we are convinced that there are things happening in our church, that would not otherwise happen, because God’s people have prayed for them on our behalf.
It is always a privilege and joy to know that people are doing this for us.