2 Corinthians 11.30
If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.
Paul frequently asked his fellow believers to pray for him. Sometimes he would simply say, “Brothers, pray for us.” Other times he would passionately plead,“Strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf.” And we know why he so desperately needed their prayers.
2 Corinthians 11.24-27Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.
Paul was brilliant and intense. He was a great man, a spiritual warrior, and a chosen instrument of God. Yet he needed others to pray for him. Why?
First, he knew that he could never accomplish his work apart from the grace of God: “By the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.”
Second, he knew that moral growth and ministry fruitfulness came only by prayer. As he told the Philippians, “It is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment”(moral growth), and wrote to the Thessalonians, “Pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored” (fruitfulness).
Lord, we long for grace, moral growth and fruitfulness in our lives. Thus, we know that we must meet with you in prayer. We must boast in our weaknesses apart from you, knowing that we cannot accomplish the most lasting achievements on this earth apart from your might, power, glory and love.
Let us not be lazy in praying for one another – that your grace would abound in our lives, that our love may grow in knowledge and depth of insight, and that your word may speed ahead and be honored in our lives – even as we endure hardship for our obedience like Paul did. Amen.