Read His Words Before Ours!
I’m going to guess that NONE of these names appear in the top 100 for baby names of 2018, or the past 5 centuries for that matter.
However, these 4 men and 1 woman are included in a much more important list,
one that hasn’t changed for thousands of years despite the changing trends of the times.
Don’t feel bad if you can’t pronounce their names. I can’t either.
In fact, I’m embarrassed to admit, I often glaze over name lists because they don’t mean much to me without a personal connection.
But Paul had that connection.
And he loved them.
These were his brothers and sisters in Christ, his family.
These were partners with him in spreading the gospel, encouraging other believers, and building the first century church.
THEY were foundational to OUR faith today.
As I prepared for this Journey Study, something in the description stuck out to me BIG time:
What if our prayers were being used by God to sustain our pastors, church leaders, and families around us?
What if MY prayers were essential to the work God is doing in and through my
church, neighborhood, family?!
Talk about conviction!!!
Am I praying like MY prayers matter?
Am I getting on my knees daily,
praying fervently and earnestly for my
children’s teachers at school,
neighbor down the street who has battled cancer,
Am I so caught up in making supper, doing laundry, cleaning up messes, and managing life I get distracted (read lazy) in my prayers?
And because of my ho-hum approach to prayer,
what if OTHER people’s lives are being affected?
Paul ends his letter to the church in Colossae with a list of people who have partnered with him in ministry.
They have encouraged him personally,
prayed fervently and intentionally for other believers,
opened their homes to host church,
traveled far distances to deliver letters,
and risked their lives for the sake of Jesus.
We all know about Paul, world-famous-preacher.
Authored over half of the New Testament.
Traveled abroad establishing churches across ancient Asia.
Discipled new believers, training them to lead churches.
Paul’s work is foundational to OUR faith today, his legacy spans millennia past and future.
His work was IMPOSSIBLE without the Spirit of God using faithful men and women of the church, their SUPPORT, their SACRIFICE, and their PRAYERS.
Paul intentionally named those who served with him, purposefully making their stories and sacrifices known.
Instead of skimming these lists, what if we slowed,
taking time to remember these men and women of faith?!
Suppose we put OURSELVES in their shoes?
Suppose we recognized God putting these people in Paul’s life, partnering with him to grow the church and altering its entire future?
Suppose He is putting US in specific places at specific times for SPECIFIC reasons to ALSO grow the church and alter its future?!!
What if, like Tychicus, we “encourage the hearts” of those around us?
What if, like Onesimus. we share with our fellow believers the activity of God in our churches, neighborhoods, schools, and families?
What if, like Nympha, we open our homes for “church services” that look like potluck dinners, roasting marshmallows around a campfire, discipleship small groups, football watch parties, or school’s out for the summer ice cream celebrations with the purpose of sharing Jesus?
What if, like Archippus, we work diligently to fulfill the ministry God has plainly given us?
What if, like Epaphras, we wrestle in prayer as if our prayers TRULY mattered?!
What if we “struggle on the behalf of others in our prayers”?
Whose eternity might be changed?
Pastors, neighbors, co-workers, family members,
bank tellers, grocery store clerks, Facebook friends, Instagram followers,
and the stranger holding up a cardboard sign.
As we determine to pray for EACH to “stand mature and fully assured in the will of God.”
Recently in an interview, Tauren Wells shared his pastor’s challenging question that prompted his song When We Pray:
“Whose lives would be changed if your prayers were answered?”
Are we praying like hearts and souls depend on prayer?
I know I’m not.
And thus, the Body of Christ is suffering!
BUT we can change that!
Tauren Wells’ noted:
We actually have the power to change the realities in which we live through prayer. It’s something the believer must harness and exert in our lives if we’re really going to change the world around us.
If your pastor were to write a letter like Paul’s, would YOUR name be included as one diligently serving, encouraging, supporting, uplifting, or contributing to the ministry of the church? Would you be listed as sacrificing to make the gospel known?
An encouraging note to your pastor.
Kind words to your child’s teacher.
A “blessing bag” for the man on the street.
Coffee with a hurting friend.
A Facebook message to a new mom struggling to find purpose.
A supper invitation for the new family.
The prayers you pray on the behalf of others.
The prayers you cry through tears,
whisper in fear,
scream in frustration,
or mutter under your breath…
They All Matter.
Be consistent, earnest, fervent, and BOLD in prayer,
as you wrestle for God’s Kingdom to come!
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!