Read His Words Before Ours!
Fervent: “exhibiting or marked by great intensity of feeling: zealous” (Webster’s).
Do you know anyone who is fervent about something? I’m sure I can be fervent about a few topics. In this season of social and political turmoil, many people are quite fervent regarding their stance on certain issues, and equally as fervent against others.
However, we might not always consider our prayers to be fervent. Perhaps we’ve never viewed ourselves as fervent prayer warriors.
Saul of Tarsus was quite fervent in how he viewed Jesus and those who followed Him. His level of fervency didn’t change after his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus; it just shifted focus. Instead of being on fire to persecute and put to death those who believed and followed Christ (Acts 8:3), he became chief evangelist, encourager, and prayer warrior (Romans 15:18-21).
What can we learn from Paul and his prayers?
In his letters to the churches and to specific people, Paul opens with thanksgiving:
“But thanks be to God [. . . ]” (2 Corinthians 2:14-16)
“We always thank God for all of you, making mention of you constantly in our prayers [. . . ]” (1Thessalonians 1:2-3)
Looking beyond physical provisions or blessings, Paul expresses his deep gratitude to the Lord for the church, the people. While he often goes on to address their sin issues, he never confuses their choices with their identities. Paul’s exhortations to holy living are laced with reminders that recipients of the letters are cherished children of the King and co-laborers with Paul in the work of the kingdom.
Paul’s call for change and spiritual growth are followed by prayers for the believers to become more loving to each other and remain steadfast in their devotion to God. He wraps up the letters by extending grace, praying his brothers and sisters in Christ would be filled with hope and continued endurance in trials.
Beloved, what if we prayed fervently for our friends?
What if we prayed fervently for our neighbors?
Those in our churches?
When we think of fervent prayer warriors, we often think of giants of the faith, long ago, who spent hours on their knees before God in prayer.
Or, we consider the vast amounts of time Paul devoted to prayer while imprisoned, which leads us to think, since we often don’t have that kind of time, we surely can’t pray as Paul did. While praying for hours at a time is a noble and wonderful activity, be assured, we can still be fervent in our prayers, even if we only have a minute or two!
We can begin right now! Who does the Holy Spirit bring to mind? How can you pray for them? They don’t even have to be struggling with anything.
Following Paul’s example, start by thanking the Lord for them.
If you know they are facing challenging circumstances, ask God to shine His light into their situation.
If they don’t believe in God, pray for them to know and receive the hope of salvation.
Now, pick an attribute of God and pray for them to experience it in an unprecedented way: provision, healing, comfort.
Paul knew the Scriptures: The Torah, the Law, the Prophets, the Psalms of David. Like Paul, let’s personalize the Word of God for our prayer subjects, or even for ourselves. The Psalms are especially useful here, because they are not only made up of celebration, but also lament and questioning. We now also have Paul’s letters and the rest of the New Testament to use as springboards for praying and bringing encouragement to others.
Model prayers are everywhere in the New Testament! Study His Words for yourself and give opportunity to grow deeper and learn the rhythms of fervent prayer.
2 Corinthians 1:1-11
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God. (verses 3-4)
Begin praying with praise, and continue with prayers of intercession on behalf of others that their love for God and one another will increase. Pray for them to be comforted, and to extend that comfort to others. Pray for them to know God deeply and be satisfied in Him. with thanksgiving and closes by exhorting the Corinthian church to love and praying God fills them with comfort.
Take out a piece of paper and a pen and simply begin.
Written prayers are just as good as spoken.
Your prayers reach Heaven just as easily as Paul’s did!
Our Heavenly Father is ready to respond to our prayers as we lean into fervency and encouragement!
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!