1 Thessalonians 5:15-17 – Always seek to do good to one another and to all. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances. (NRSV)
Galatians 6:2 – Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. (RSV)
Matthew 7:7-8 – Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. (NIV)
Pray without ceasing … bear one another's burdens … Ask and it shall be given unto you …
Matthew 18:19 – If two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. (NIV)
Today's verses from scripture are about prayer and helping others through prayer. When asked to take the devotional for a church breakfast fellowship group, I felt that this was an opportunity to talk about some of the experiences we have had in the past year and a bit, since Howard took sick, and I share these now.
I will never forget the impromptu prayer circle at the front of the church, the first Sunday I was there alone after we had been told that Howard had multiple myeloma. I am not sure who all joined in a small circle, each with arms around the next, as one after another raised both of us to God in prayer. It was very special to me — and a taste of the love and support that we would receive from our friends, known and unknown, in the days ahead.
One of the first things I did was to put a message on the PrayerLine of the PCCWeb Daily. The messages started to flow in: We are with you … keep up your courage … God will be with you. Not only did we get short e-mails — but verses of inspirational poetry, images of angels resting in God's care — and always that feeling that we were not alone in this. How could we be, with so many praying?
The encouragement also came from those who lived nearby and from our church friends: cards, phone calls, visits, practical assistance — all these things helped us through some very difficult days and nights.
Prayer changes things — and people — and attitudes, thoughts and actions. God wants us to trust Him to do His best for us. Knowing that many are praying with us and for us gives a level of comfort and assurance that is hard to describe. And it makes it a lot easier to meet each day knowing that God is with us in all things.
John 1:16 – From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. (NIV)
I think one of the biggest blessings we have received is knowing that we have really good friends in the readers of the PCCWeb Daily. Thank you for all you have been to us in the past year.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, that we can lift up one another in prayer. We do not know or need to know the results, just that we are being faithful to your command. Thank you, Lord, for those who pray; thank you for those who follow your prompting and pray for and with all those who make their needs known through the Daily devotional page. Thank you for the encouragement felt when we know that others are with us in our time of need. Thank you, Father, for your many promises to be with us through all things in our lives. Lord Jesus, you told us to ask, and we shall receive. Guide us to pray for those things we need, so that you can show us your desire to answer our prayers. Help us to accept the answer you provide: joy and thanksgiving when it is "Yes", and peace and acceptance when your answer is "No" or "Wait". Amen.