2 Corinthians 1:11
As Christians, most of us have a general awareness that it is a good thing to pray for other people and to have other people praying for you. But perhaps praying for each other is more than “good,” perhaps it is crucial.
So why should we pray for others? What benefits are there to interceding for people? Why is it so important that we pray for each other?
For a New Testament list of Bible verses on the “Sabbath” by BibleGateway.com, click here.
So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.-Hebrews 4:9-10
Have you ever been burned out? Just over done from the grilling flames of the day-to-day grind we all endure? The natural remedy, we think, to being overworked is to get time away from work. Isn’t this one of the main reasons we look forward to the holiday seasons so much?
True rest is not the absence of responsibility; real rest is being in the intimate presence of the Lord. Therefore, if we seek to rejuvenate ourselves simply through the absence of responsibility, this is a quick fix that will not last because it is based in a works theology. We think we can gain our own rest through our actions, or in this case, our lack of actions.
Ephesians 2:10, Proverbs 6:10-11, Exodus 20:8-10
The difference between laziness and restfulness is that laziness terminates on itself. The lazy man seeks to rest as an end goal in itself. Biblical rest is not done to idolize personal relaxation, but to relax so one will be better equipped to work for God.
1 Peter 1:14-16
Holiness and humility go hand in hand. The Christian cannot have one without the other. All true Christians desire to be holy, which can only be given through the grace of Jesus Christ, but it seems some have a greater holiness playing out in their lives than others. Humility is always the underlying determining factor for who is walking in holiness and who simply desires to but is left struggling to do so. For as 1 Peter 1:14-16 explains:
“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
If we want to be holy, it starts with being like a child. Here are three biblical reasons why holiness without humility is impossible.
Psalm 22:1-3, 19, Psalm 136:1-3
plat•i•tude, [plat-i-tood], noun
1. a plane, dry, or trite remark, especially one uttered as if it were fresh or profound. Synonym: cliché. Examples: “Everything happens for a reason.” “Be a team player.” “God works in mysterious ways.”
God can use anyone. God even uses men and women who are in rebellion against him like he did with Pharaoh (Exodus 9:17). God can use men and women who love him and yet have moments of backsliding like Moses did (Numbers 20:2-13). While God can use anyone, he prefers to use a certain type of person.
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Perhaps the caring heart and character of God is the first lesson Jesus teaches us about in this parable because this is foundational to our desire in pursuing the Lord. If we don’t know he cares for us, why would we pray to him?
1 Peter 5:7 (NIV) states, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” Peter motivates us to cast all our troubles onto the Lord by reminding us that God really does care. God really is good. If you don’t know he cares for you, if you don’t know that the heart of God is for you, or if you doubt the goodness of God, you won’t pray very much.
My three year old son has an adversary. She’s redheaded, immature, easily excitable, really fun, slobbery, and super annoying when she wants to play. His adversary also happens to be our golden retriever, Lois.
In typical first born fashion, my son wants to be in charge, and Lois is an easy target. “Lois, get off my toys! Lois, stop hitting me with your tail! Lois, stop barking! Lois, stop breathing on me!” The funny thing is Lois doesn’t pay attention to him at all. She just keeps doing what she’s doing as though he isn’t shouting at the top of his lungs right in her unimpressed face.
It’s not that she doesn’t understand him; I think she finds pleasure in doing the opposite of what he says. When he yells “Move!” she stares past him, just wagging her tail like she’s enjoying herself at the beach. Or if he screams, “Stay!” she suddenly has the urge to slowly mosey somewhere else with that dull, blank, drooping jowls, older dog look . . . “Yeah, right kid.”
When we begin to learn about God’s sovereignty, the temptation is to turn into the “frozen chosen” who use God’s power as an excuse to be lazy. If God is in total control of everything, why pray at all?
Certainly this is a multi layered question that could be talked about endlessly in the theological classroom. The more pressing concern is when the idea of God’s sovereignty hinders your prayer life in a very negatively practical way. This is not what God wants.
So to answer the question, “Why pray if God is Sovereign?”, perhaps a counter question will help us see the Bible’s answer: “Why would you pray if God wasn’t sovereign?”
By God’s grace I have had the opportunity to do missionary work in Liberia, West Africa. During my time there I had the privilege of visiting a lot of orphanages, some on a weekly basis.
I saw hundreds of orphan children. Babies, toddlers, children, teenagers. Some well fed, some not so well fed. Some with beds to sleep in and roofs over their heads, some without. Some of these orphans were in the city, some were way out in the African bush. Some were healthy and loved to play, some were crippled and lame.
I remember one boy named Francis. He was probably around fourteen, but he didn’t know his true birth date because his parents died when he was young and no one was there to share the details of his early life, a common problem amongst orphan children. Francis was a free spirit and did not like the rules and expectations of an orphanage, so he lived in a shipping container in the port, wheeling and dealing with the sailors to provide food for himself. Just from talking to all the sailors from different countries he had learned multiple languages: English, Russian, Ukrainian, French . . . Francis could speak them all. He was a genius.