The Impact of Prayer

January 25, 2022

Do you realize the profound impact for good that you can have on your brothers and sisters in Christ?  Do you realize the profound impact you can have upon the life and health of the church as a whole?  Do you realize that there is something you can be doing that will directly affect the ability of your brethren to stand firm in their battle against the evil one?  Do you know there is something you can do to help others to grow in love, spiritual wisdom, and strength?  How is it that we can have such a profound impact?  By praying spiritually-minded prayers!

We desperately need to be praying for one another.  God works powerfully through prayer!  Prayer changes things!  The apostle Paul knew this.  Paul was constantly in prayer for the churches.  Even though he was a man who was extremely busy, always traveling, and always preaching and teaching, he was a man who took the time to pray fervently for the church.  Why is that?  Because Paul knew what impact prayer could have.  For Paul, prayer wasn’t just some empty exercise in spiritual discipline—he knew it made a difference in the lives of people!

There are many prayers of Paul recorded in the New Testament, but let us look at one example to see the kind of things Paul prayed for.  In Ephesians chapter 1 he prays, “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.  I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.” (Ephesians 1:17-19, NASB) What a beautiful, powerful prayer!  These are the kinds of things that are according to the will of the Lord.  These are the kinds of things that the Father is pleased to give.  These are the kinds of things that we need to be asking for one another.

Let us continue to ask God for the physical blessings and physical healing that we all need.  This is good and right.  But may we all, with renewed fervency and urgency, come before our Father to ask for spiritual blessings for our brethren.  There is nothing greater that we can be doing for each other.  Will you bow your head and ask God to impact those around you?

—Scott Colvin

The Interrupted Jesus

March 23, 2018

Jesus preached in the open where crowds would gather, so it is not surprising that he might be interrupted by someone in the crowd. Luke 11:27 depicts a woman shouting out this interruption: “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!” It’s a nice compliment to Jesus’ mother, but Jesus is quick witted and has the last word. He counters with this beatitude: “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”

The blessing of hearing God’s word is great. The Book of Revelation also begins with a blessing on the one who reads and the one who hears the words of “this prophecy.” It takes humility on our part to hear the word of God as we should. The challenge is expressed in Isaiah 55:8-9.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8–9, ESV)

God’s word convicts us. It makes demands on us.

I believe hearing and reading God’s word is a blessing. I’ve come to see it as “sweeter than honey” (Psalm 119:103) and as “a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105). God’s commandments are for our good (Deuteronomy 6:24). But we have to become oriented to this library of books. It takes effort. We begin by understanding little, but with diligence the Bible becomes clearer to us, so that it becomes a source of comfort and strength.

So, if you believe that hearing God’s word is a blessing, what are you doing about it? Are you reading your Bible regularly? Are you a part of the Bible studies when the church assembles? It is an empty thing to say it is a blessing and then not partake of the blessing.

But notice that the beatitude Jesus gives is not just on hearing the word of God, the blessing only comes if we hear and keep it. In fact, the blessing in Revelation is the same: “blessed are this who hear, and who keep what is written in it…” (Revelation 1:3, ESV). Notice in Luke 11, it is not enough to be Jesus’ mother as great a privilege as that was. One needs to hear and keep. When his family came seeking him, he made the same point: “For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother” (Mark 3:35, ESV). James also warns about being “hearers only.” He compares being merely a hearer to looking in a mirror and then walking away and forgetting what we are like (James 1:22-25). Scripture is profitable to us only if we allow it to teach, reprove, correct, and train us in righteousness (see 2 Timothy 3:16-17).

The interrupted Jesus is not gotten off track. He provides a wise beatitude for us to ponder: “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”

Recognizing Blessings

February 10, 2009

Counting our blessings is important so that we have an attitude of thankfulness. But it is easy to overlook blessings because we take certain things for granted.

My wife has some Guardian Service Cookware that belonged to her grandmother and mother. Guardian Service Cookware was manufactured from the mid 1930s to 1956. For Christmas, our daughter gave her a Guardian Service cookbook that was purchased used on the Internet.

The beginning of the cookbook is striking because it tells how to set the burners for the correct heat. It gives instructions for gas, electric, wood, coal, kerosene, and gasoline. Yikes! What’s the MPG (meals per gallon) for a gasoline stove? And would I really want to be the one to light it? If you are interested in how to set medium heat on a wood stove, use one section from the fire box or a fairly hot fire.

Do you suddenly see a few more blessings in your life? My coffee is getting cold, I think I need to visit the microwave and ponder this.