How to Help the Work of God (Praying Through the Bible #258)

TEXT: 1 Corinthians 1:8-11

8 For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life:
9 But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead:
10 Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us;
11 Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf.

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We are in a series of messages titled "Praying Through the Bible: A Series on Every Passage and Verse Regarding Prayer in the Bible." The purpose of this series is to encourage and motivate you to pray to the God of the Bible. We highlighted each of these over 500 verses and passages in the Prayer Motivator Devotional Bible. So far, we have completed 257 messages in this series.

This is message #258 titled, How to Help the Work of God.

In this passage, Paul writes to some of his children in the faith, telling them of recent troubles that he and his companions have experienced. Even though many of them are but babes in Christ, he says he 'would not have them ignorant of the trouble that came to them in Asia.' It was apparently a very great trouble -- one that "pressed" them beyond their strength 'insomuch that they despaired even of life.' The trouble was so bad that they thought they were going to die; however, God delivered them. Paul notes that, while their trust was in God, there was something else that also played a hand in their deliverance. He tells the Corinthians, "Ye also [were] helping together by prayer for us."
The believers in Corinth, whether they knew of Paul's trouble at the time or not, were "helping" Paul and his companions by praying for them. The term translated as "helping together" means providing supplementary or additional aid and support. In the midst of his trouble many miles away, Paul felt the help and support coming from the Corinthians through their prayers. As E.M. Bounds said, "The prayer closet is the battlefield of the Church, its citadel, the scene of heroic and unearthly conflicts. The closet is the base of supplies for the Christian and the Church. Cut off from it, there is nothing left but retreat and disaster. The energy for work, the mastery over self, the deliverance from fear, all spiritual results and graces, are much advanced by prayer."
Regarding this passage, Dr. Greg Herrick writes in his commentary, "Paul is convinced that God delivered him, and those with him, from so great a risk of death and that he will continue to do so in the future. But he wants the Corinthians to know that such deliverance comes about when God's people pray and petition him in such cases. The prayer is for more than mere deliverance; it is also for the whole work of proclaiming the gospel and all that such an enterprise entails. The end result of such prayer and help is that many will give thanks to God on behalf of his gracious gift of deliverance for Paul and His advancement of the gospel."
Paul regards his deliverance from a deathly situation -- whether persecution, disease, or danger -- as a gift that came "by the means of many persons." The word translated as 'persons' literally refers to the front of a person's face. When the early Christians prayed, they followed the Jewish tradition of turning the face upward toward Heaven. The image that Paul gives us is that of many people with their faces turned to God interceding for God's man and God's ministry. Intercessory prayer is one way in which everyone can help the work of God. Everyone is not called to preach or be a missionary. Everyone will not be able to give financially or through physical labor. But everyone can help the work of God and the men and women of God through prayer. A.B. Simpson said, "Prayer is the mighty engine that is to move the missionary work."

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Now, if you are with us today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, your first prayer needs to be what we call the Sinner's Prayer. First, please understand that you are a sinner, just as I am, and that you have broken God's laws. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God."

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: "For the wages of sin is death…"

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: "But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death."

Now this is bad news, but here's the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9 & 13 says, "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved... For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."

If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.

If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on trusting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. You have done the most important thing in life. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light and read "What To Do After You Enter Through the Door". Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, "I am the door, by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture."

God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.