We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us. And you are helping us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety. ~ 2 Corinthians 1:10b,11 NLT
Have you ever found yourself or a loved one in such a difficult situation that you could see no way out, but to pray? Perhaps, like I have, you have heard others say, “All I could do was pray.” We have all been caught in difficult, maybe dangerous, circumstances where we realized there was no way out. We were helpless, there was nothing we could do, but pray.
That is the situation Paul repeatedly found himself in on his missionary journeys to the Gentiles. Often, he faced certain death, but God rescued him. In this passage in 2 Corinthians Paul gives us the key to his survival – the prayer of others to release miracles and his rescue.
It may appear that God was cruel in allowing Paul to get into those perilous places. After all, God sent him into those very locations and to those exact people who tried to kill him. It was God’s plan, so why the danger? Perhaps, Paul tells us the answer in 2 Corinthians 1:9, “In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead.”
Paul was learning precious lessons about God and who he could trust God to always be. Though his circumstances were precarious, Paul learned how to rely on God, how to trust in his power, compassion and ability to rescue his people. Paul seems to be reasoning here, that if God can raise the dead, then even death could not keep Paul from being in God’s perfect will. Paul learned this lesson, not just once, but repeatedly, so that he could comfort and encourage his dearly loved Christian brothers and sisters, as in verse 1:10, “We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us.”
Paul is speaking through the ages to us, too. When we learn to rely only on God, and not on our own or others’ resources and abilities, God can use us to witness to his presence, power and grace, and to give the Lord the glory. In the process, we learn to face impossible circumstances in perfect peace, and receive the Lord’s comfort. Importantly, a spiritual victory is won for Jesus as we and others learn to rise above what the Enemy has planned and call down Heaven to earth.
But please, don’t miss this: your prayers for yourself and others are crucial. Prayer matters. When you pray you open doors to salvation, healing and peace for others. We are all called to be “prayer warriors”. The battles will be waiting for you and your loved ones, but, like Paul, you can rely on God to rescue you when you call on others to pray for you.
Let’s surround ourselves with Christ followers who take prayer seriously, and know the power that they can unleash, and the glory that it brings to our gracious, compassionate Lord.
Dear friends, be blessed as you commit to pray for yourself and others. Learn with Paul to rely only on God in every circumstance you and your loved ones face. Be blessed as you see battles won through prayer and grow in your trust of what God and prayers to him can do. Amen.
Mary Sumner ~ April 20, 2023