“Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance” (Philippians 1:18b-19).
Although I am on medical leave, recovering from surgery, I wanted share just a few lines and express my gratitude to each of you who has provided support both in prayer and personally during this time. This is what the Body of Christ is about: supporting each other in our various lives, situations, experiences, whether we are close by or far apart.
Paul was in prison, in chains for preaching the gospel. Yet he did not allow his situation to hinder his witness for Christ. Neither did the Philippians allow Paul’s imprisonment to hinder their faith. They took the time to pray for Paul’s situation, for his comfort, for his courage, for his deliverance.
We are the Body of Christ, made up of every person who has called on the name of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, redeemed by the will of God, and united by God’s Holy Spirit. Although we are often separated by such things as denomination, sect, tradition, time, and distance, the true spiritual nature of the Body of Christ has no separation. In God’s kingdom we are and will be one in Spirit and in love.
The events of the past weeks have included the Winter Olympics along with the tragic death of a young man from the country of Georgia . The world mourned with his family. We have tuned in to learn of the damage and death counts from the earthquakes and floods around the world, especially in Haiti and Chile . People throughout the world sent support and help, as we mourned their losses along with them. In each of these events, the people of the world mobilized to meet the needs of those who were hurting.
Jesus knew that human nature causes us to reach out. But he also knew that we tend to do so in a “picky” manner. “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?” (Matthew 5:43-47).
As we move through this week, let’s take some time to examine our approach to prayer for others.
First of all, are we emulating the Philippians by praying for others in need, whatever the need may be? Are we taking the time to talk to our God for others, as they prayed for Paul?
Second, are we praying for our brothers and sisters in Christ, whatever their “approach” to faith? Are we praying for missionaries, both in America and in foreign lands, who are serving God and the Gospel? Are we giving of our substance to help them fulfill the assignment they received from God?
Third, are we praying for our enemies, or even more, for those with whom we have no relationship, either love or hate, such as those in foreign lands. Are we being good “Kingdom” citizens, holding up the world’s people in prayer and working to make a difference in our own small ways, that in some way we can make a change not only spiritually, but in their living conditions? Remember, when Jesus said “You took care of me” He was speaking about physical needs, not just spiritual condition.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me’” (Matthew 25:34-40).
So, thank you for praying for my recovery, but even more, thank you for praying for us at Ebenezer. Thank you for praying for all of the churches in Greenfield and in Southwest Missouri, that God would strengthen us all and give us wisdom and everything we need to do God’s will. And thank you for praying for those around the world, those who need us to lift them to our Lord each day.
May God bless you richly today and every day!
Mary Kay Glunt, Pastor
Ebenezer Presbyterian Church