1 Corinthians 1:4-9 - I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in Him in all speech and all knowledge—even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you—so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Do you ever skim the surface when you pray? I do. We may have a preset list of things we pray for ourselves or others: good health, safety and protection, good grades, nice bonus, a life of "smooth sailing." These are all things easy to pray for—good things I think—but they often have a kind of prayer default ring to them, as if we've prayed them a millions times before and sometimes without much thought.
When I read Paul's introductory prayer for the church at Corinth, I'm impressed with the apostle's ever-present concern for the believers' wellbeing. He knows Jesus will sustain them through whatever trials they face, even as they stand firm in the faith, waiting eagerly for His revelation, abiding in fellowship.
Paul seems to go deeper in his prayers; he drills down to the real issues. He speaks to the heart of the matter. While he might pray for a settled life for the Corinthian church, free of persecution and dissent, he mostly wants them to know Jesus. He wants them to hold fast to the Savior, the One who forgives and redeems, the One whose final revealing they wait for, and the One who will sustain them—guiltless—to the end. It's all about Jesus for Paul.
There's a lesson here for us, too.
It's difficult at times to have that kind of prayer focus. It is for me, at least. The world pokes and prods from all directions. What seems critical and urgent is often all but forgotten in a few short hours. That's not to say it's not worth praying about, but it often reflects the self-involved nature of our prayers. Still, though I fumble about and offer a good many prayers just like that, it's good to know God hears my pleas and blesses regardless.
Perhaps the thing to remember when it comes to prayer is to just do it. To "pray without ceasing," as Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 5:17—to keep our prayers constant, frequently speaking with God regardless of where we're at and what we're doing. He knows we are weak and often focused on our own needs first, but He tells us to pray at all times anyway (see Ephesians 6:18).
He is a God who wants to hear from us! That's the kind of God we have; that's the kind of God who loves us.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, may our prayers be pleasing to You. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Paul Schreiber.
1. Do you find yourself praying much throughout the day?
2. What do you think a prayer from Paul would sound like today if he were praying about believers in the United States?
3. Do you pray for people's faith much—i.e. that they come to faith in Jesus or stay close to God in their faith?
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