Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Praying for One Another

We live in an age of independence. We want to be our own persons. We can, with the help of technology, hide in our own little cocoons and only come up occasionally for air. But this is not God’s concept as to how His people should be related to one another. We are told that we are all part of one body (1 Corinthians 12:12-25; Romans 12:3-8; Ephesians 4:11-16). The result of this should be unity within the body (Philippians 2:3,4; Ephesians 4:1-6; Galatians 3:26-29). This is meant to go beyond an abstraction and to be reflected in how we live together and relate to one another. We are to sympathize with one another in our joys and struggles (Romans 12:15,16; 1 Corinthians 12:25; Galatians 6:2). But what does this look like in practice?   

We stand by each other in times of trouble. We pray for and encourage each other (James 5:13-15; Ephesians 6:18,19; Hebrews 10:25). We need one another’s prayers, to be strengthened and encouraged by them. And there is something humbling about asking others to pray for us; it takes the edge off our egos (James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:6.7; Luke 14:8-11). It is easy to get the “I do not need anybody; I can take care of myself” attitude. Even the idea “God and I can handle it, and we do not need anyone else” can be a dangerous thing. Rather, God wants us to allow other people to pray for us and help us.

The other thing we need to be willing to do is admit our sins to one another and let others pray for us and encourage us (James 5:16; Hebrews 12:12,13; 10:24). It is important to be willing to confess our sins, first to God (Proverbs 28:13; 1 John 1:9: Psalms 32:5), then to other Christians. Now you do need to be careful who you confess your sins to. There needs to be a relationship of trust there before you do. But overcoming the secrecy is part of breaking sin’s hold over us. Also, there are occasions when you need to correct those who are not yet willing to admit to their sin (James 5:19,20; Galatians 6:1; Matthew 18:15-20). This can be extremely hard. I do believe there is a place where love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8). Sometimes we to realize we are all in process and not perfect yet (Philippians 3:12-16). But there is a point where sin needs to be addressed, but with gentleness. It is part of being the body of Christ that there are times we need to correct each other. If can be difficult for both parties, but there is a point where it needs to be done.

There are dangers in crawling out of our cocoons, but the benefits are worth it. For it is here God puts us through the process of rubbing away our self-centeredness that we might be genuine followers of Him (Philippians 2:2-11; Romans 12:9,10; 1 Corinthians 13:1-7).

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