That's a clear, straightforward plea to the church at Thessalonica by the apostle Paul. "Brothers, pray for us." I love its simplicity. It is emotionally understated. Can you hear the depth of need this apostle feels for God's help? " . . . on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren . . . in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure" (2 Corinthians 11:26-27).
We hear it again with more vehemence in Romans 15:30. "Strive together with me in your prayers to God for me." Here is a great man. He has great gifts and great experiences with God. He is a brilliant intellect. He is a valiant spiritual warrior. He is a chosen instrument of God. And he pleads for prayer. "Pray for me." "Strive with me in your prayers to God for me."
Why? Two reasons:
1. BECAUSE WHAT COUNTS MOST IN THE CHRISTIAN MINISTRY CANNOT BE ACCOMPLISHED BY MAN LEFT TO HIMSELF.
"I will not presume to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me, resulting in the obedience of the Gentiles" (Romans 15:18). "By the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me" (1 Corinthians 15:10). "Whoever renders service, [do it] as one who renders it by the strength which God supplies; in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 4:11). "Now the God of peace . . . equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever" (Hebrews 13:20-21).
2. BECAUSE GOD HAS SET UP THE WORLD SO THAT (a) MORAL TRANSFORMATION AND (b) MINISTRY TRIUMPHS COME BY PRAYER.
a) MORAL TRANSFORMATION "And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment" (Philippians 1:9). "We have not ceased to pray for you . . . so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord . . . bearing fruit in every good work" (Colossians 1:9-10). "Pray that you may not enter into temptation" (Luke 22:40).
b) MINISTRY TRIUMPHS "Pray that I may be rescued from those who are disobedient in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may prove acceptable to the saints" (Romans 15:31). "Pray for us that the word of the Lord will spread rapidly and be glorified" (1 Thessalonians 3:1). "Pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel" (Ephesians 6:19). "Pray for us that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned; that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak" (Colossians 4:3-4).
The Bethlehem Conference for Pastors welcomes about 700 pastors February 1-3. We humbly plead: Pray for us. Let these texts be your guide. Imagine what God might do! Dream of the ripple effect across the nation and the decades. Pray.
Standing in the need of prayer,