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Devotion 6

Praying for the Saints

We get dumped on a lot, I think. As Christians (fundamentalists or evangelicals), we are not only held responsible for all the calamities in the world, we are also expected to do something about all of them.

It's true that when there is no physical activity we can perform in response to all these needs, we can pray about them. But does all that responsibility to pray ever overwhelm you? Do you ever feel defeated before you start?

I do. Even this morning as I lay in bed, praying, I struggled to stay focused, to remember every thing and everyone for whom I should pray.

I wonder why I go in circles. Why do I bring a request before the Lord and then wander off on a tangent, figuring out how He can answer my prayer? It's really exasperating, and I hate this weakness in myself. In spite of the obstacles, I keep persevering because I believe in the power of prayer. I can remember talking to my Aunt Bee about it. (Yes, that was her name.) "When you pray for someone," she told me, "the Holy Spirit goes to that person in answer to that prayer." What a wonderful thought!

I learned another comforting lesson just a few weeks ago. Verse 18 of Ephesians 6 says this: Praying always with all prayer and supplication…for all saints." (I have quoted the entire verse at the end of this "Heartbeat" to give you the full context, and I remind you that this verse does not stand by itself. It follows the explanation of the "whole" armor of God, which is to be accompanied by our prayers.)

Does it say that I must first know the name of every one for whom I pray?

Does it say that I must know their individual needs?

No and no! Paul simply exhorts us to pray always for every believer, not just family and friends.

It isn't the identification of every need of every Christian that God wants to hear. He already knows both theirs and ours. But He wants us to hold up all saints: wherever they are, whatever they're doing, whatever their needs, whatever their pain.

Remember them, Paul said. "I can do that!" I said to myself. I can pray for believers everywhere. I can pray for God to meet every need of all the saints the way He has always met mine.

Two things happen when I obey this admonition of Paul: My faith is increased; and the Holy Spirit moves to answer my prayer on their behalf.

That is certainly Christian service of the highest order.

Let us pray!

In other words:

"Praying always with all prayer and supplication (humble entreaty) in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; " (Ephesians 6:18)

The Message records the verse like this: "Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep other's spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out." (Ephesians 6:18)

For Further Consideration:

Ephesians 6:11-18

I Thessalonians 5:17

Romans 8:26

Luke 18:1


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