1:9 Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, 10 who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us, 11 you also helping together in prayer for us, that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the gift granted to us through many.
Paul wanted to know that through all their near death sufferings the church in Corinth played a part in their deliverance through prayer.
Now I want to share with you an email I received early this morning from a dear friend who knows to bring everything to God in prayer:
"How powerful can prayer be? I need to tell you what happened at our church on Sabbath:
The sermon had already begun when an unknown gentleman arrived and sat down at the back. He listened a minute or two and then moved forward to the next-to-front pew, which is when most of us became aware of his presence. The moment I saw him I was prompted to pray that the Lord would surround him with light and peace, keep him from evil, and protect each one of us. I was told later by at least 4 people (unprompted) that they had done the same.
He barely sat down when he raised his hand to interrupt the speaker and question what he was saying. My prayers then focused on the speaker (that God would give him an answer of peace), and things settled down again and the service finished without further interruption.
He was invited to our fellowship lunch which he stayed for. During that time he made inappropriate comments about an attractive married woman (in her hearing), spoke endearingly to another lady and very disrespectfully to her husband who was listening, and with great rudeness to my own husband when he tried to engage him in friendly conversation over the meal.
I knew nothing of all this until later, being busy in the kitchen and in conversation with others, but when our paths met and I intended to make eye contact and give a friendly smile, the Lord lowered my eyes and kept me from doing that. I have never had such an experience before ...
At one point he went out to get something from his truck. He had left his key in his coat pocket, indoors, so he picked the lock in record time (according to an astonished observer).
Eventually he left.
When we arrived home my husband told me that as soon as he saw him he felt he was there with evil in his heart, and at one point was getting ready to jump him if he made one wrong move. This is so unlike my husband! He googled the fellow's name and discovered that in March he had been charged with counseling someone to commit murder...
So, how powerful can prayer be? Nothing happened, other than rudeness and inappropriate comments. Coincidence? Why would so many of us be prompted to pray intensely, at the same moment?
God cares about His people. He cares about His church. He is greater than the enemy.
I am praying for you,
God still hears and answers prayer. Maybe not exactly when or how we think He should. Sometimes it seems as if He hasn't heard at all. When Jesus prayed to His Father in Gethsemane no apparent answer came. However where did the courage come from to go forward? Where did the restraint come from to not even argue with His captors? Where did the compassion come from to pray for those screaming "Crucify Him!"
Dark valleys will come. Jesus said so and passed through them Himself. The idea that following Jesus should mean sunshine and roses always is a great deception. We may not be kept from the fires of persecution and trouble but we won't walk alone.
"When you pass through the fires I will be with you. When you go through deep waters they will not drown you." - God
Trouble will come. It isn't if but when. If you have the strength and ability, pray for those in the fire now. You may never see the direct results but there will be results. It's a God promised guarantee. "Ask for anything in My name and you will receive it."