Paul did not ask others to pray for his comfort or prosperity. He asked them to pray: that God would open doors for the Word, so he could boldly speak of Christ; that he would be more effective in more places for the sake of the Gospel; that his life would be spared when he was being persecuted (2 Cor 1:11; Eph 6:18-20; Phil 1:19; Col 4:2-4; 2 Thess 3:1,2).
One way to teach your congregation how to pray is to exhort them to pray for you, just as Paul did. “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; meanwhile praying also for us…” (Col 4:2,3). Ask them to pray that you will walk in holiness, be freshly anointed by the Holy Spirit for every good work, receive fresh revelation and insight into God’s Holy Word, and grow in your ability to teach and lead effectively (2 Cor 7:1; Eph 1:17,18; 4:11,12; 5:18). Your congregation will gladly “amen” such a request!
D. INCLUDE THE SINGLE
“A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy habitation. God sets the solitary in families…” (Ps 68:5,6).
All of us need healthy, wholesome relationships with others. We need people who will share in our joys and trials, and pray for us. These needs are often met by a spouse or other family members.
But there are those who are unmarried, and may be without other family nearby. They may be young and orphaned, or older and living alone.
God wants all of us to know what it is like to be loved, cared for, and prayed for by our family in the Lord. And He wants to release ministry through us in service to, and prayer for, the many single or lonely ones whom He will bring across our path. God wants to place them into our families; that can be our church family, or maybe even our home.
All of us know people in our neighborhood, church, school or place of work who may be lonely. They may want to relate to others and be warmly accepted, but they aren’t sure what to do. We should be on the watch for those whom God would have us begin to pray for and include in our church activities and other events.
This may or may not mean that God wants you to become a special friend to them. But you can begin by praying for them; then be sensitive as to how else you can include them and help them to grow spiritually.
Ask God to put into your heart the love that is in His heart for those who are alone. His love will help you reach out and encourage people who may be lonely and hurting, to help them draw closer to God.
This was clearly seen in the life of Jesus when He was here on earth (Matt 9:36; Mark 1:40,41). Now, through the grace and power of His Spirit, our hands can become His hands. We can become the family into which the Father sets His “solitary” ones.
FINAL DEVOTIONAL NOTE:
“Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority…” (1 Tim 2:1,2).