I was asked to pray at a “pep rally” this week in support of Penn State football. It will be cool to meet some of the people with the team who have already been through a lot and be able to influence folks toward God as I do the part I was asked to do. I appreciate that in putting together this program, someone thought enough of the Lord and prayer to include it. If you are like most Christians you have experienced the encouragment that prayer can be to you personally. Perhaps you have prayed with another individual and they prayed just for you, or you saw an answer to someone else’s prayer working through your life !
I find many times in Paul’s writings he was not shy about telling those to whom he wrote exactly how he was praying for them and he revealed some very encouraging things to his readers in what he sought God about for them. For example, look at this snippet to the Romans believers, “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. . . that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers” (Rom.1:9). He thanked the Lord for their faith they were living out. How encouraging that someone takes the time to not only notice something good in your life but actually verbally encourages you about it ! “Positive reinforcement” was Paul’s middle name ! You can do the same through your prayers, it will bolster others to keep doing right, keep you from fixating on the negatives in others and yourself, and help you to be less critical and more complementary.
Even to the Philippians when he was in prison he found these words to pray, “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you. . . being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phil.1:3-6). When tempted to look at your adverse circumstances and whine look out to what God is doing in others and look up to pray, thanking God as you reflect on how God has used them and how He will continue to use us all for His glory. Need a heart lift today? Know someone else who may? Don’t neglect the very important spiritual privilege you have in prayer !