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Vol.  10  No. 1 January 2008  Page 15
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Tim Childs

A Sluggish Church?

By Tim Childs

    We should consider it a tremendous blessing to sit down at the Thanksgiving Day dinner table with family and friends to enjoy a bountiful feast with turkey, dressing and all the fixin’s. God has been so good to you and me and we need to impress upon him that we are truly grateful.

    But, think with me about the heavy feeling that comes over us about 30 minutes to an hour following the meal. Maybe you’re sitting in your recliner trying to watch a football game, but find yourself saying, “For the life of me, I just can’t stay awake.” “Good night.” “Oh, but it’s just 1:30 p.m.” “zzzzzzz”

    Could it be that this is the current state of the church in today’s world? We are full and satisfied. We are content and complacent. We are sleepy, lifeless and without the energy to accomplish anything productive for our Master.

    Admittedly, there are times when one has to catch his breath. That’s ok. Jesus, our busy Lord, took occasional breaks from His pressing work. However, we have not been called of Jesus to be “sleepers.” “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand… (Romans 13:11-12).

    Are you still in your spiritual p.j.’s? How long have you been resting? Haven’t we had enough rest? Is there not a cause? Some of us could use an old fashioned dose of work and exercise in the kingdom. Let’s exercise our faith and see it grow. On the other hand, if we don’t get up and work for the Master, we are going to die an early death.

Andy RobisonPray for Me

By Andy Robison

    It is biblical, right and helpful to ask brethren to pray for you, as long as the purpose for prayerful consideration is right, moral and godly. Such a precedent is clearly set in the course of the Bible.

    In closing remarks to the Thessalonian church, Paul requested simply, “Brethren, pray for us” (1 Thessalonians 5:25). He does not there specify a need, but the brethren there knew his life was devoted to the service of Christ. A prayer for Paul would certainly be a prayer in accordance with Christ’s will (as prayers must be, 1 John 5:14-15). Paul himself bolsters this conclusion with his words in Hebrews 13:18: “Pray for us; for we are confident that we have a good conscience, in all things desiring to live honorably.” It follows that godly servants of modern times may legitimately request prayers of faithful brethren — not necessarily for any explicit work, but simply for that person’s well being. This is, of course, often done. Missionaries, preachers and elders are heard making the requests of supporters and congregations.

    Prayers may also be requested for specific works. Second Thessalonians 3:1-2 has Paul asking the same brethren this: “Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you, and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for not all have faith.”

    Two particulars are the subjects of the requested petitions: 1) That the Word of God may have free course, and 2) That its messengers would be delivered from potential persecution at the hands of the faithless. There occur, in the course of church work, grand opportunities for evangelism. Leaders in those efforts are right and wise to request prayers of faithful brethren in regard to these. Also, occurring in the regular course of church action is persecution. People can be unreasonable, hateful and just plain mean. Praying for deliverance from such people’s plots is an offshoot of many Psalms (see Psalms 17; 27:12; 31 for example). It is also somewhat akin to the Lord teaching his disciples to pray, “And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one” (Matthew 6:13).

    Reversing the field, one should remember that Paul often prayed for his brethren. In reading the openings to his letters, one will often find phrases like this: “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine, making request for you all with joy” (Philippians 1:3-4). One can find a long prayer for Paul’s beloved brethren, beginning at Ephesians 1:15.

    Brethren ought to remember these examples. Of course, prayer for one another should be accompanied by action when possible. At times, however, some may feel helpless at being able to do little for others. May we neither forget the power God bestowed in prayer, nor the injunction he gave to all: “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16).

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