Comfort in affliction
Although Paul doesn’t mention the Holy Spirit in these first paragraphs, the sentences are thoroughly trinitarian – God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Lord is the translation of the Greek word kyrios, used in the Old Testament for God – Yahweh. Jesus is God and the Father is God – one God in three persons! The trinity is a mind boggling concept – appropriately so as God is bigger than us and can’t be put in a box.
In this life we will experience…
- Affliction v.4
- Suffering v.5
- Despair at times v.8
- Burdens v.8.
Becoming a Christian doesn’t make us immune from such things and it would be a serious mistake to believe that even mentioning them is a negative confession. Paul does mention them – and then asks for prayer and support.
I have heard people say we shouldn’t make negative confessions for two reasons…
- The devil will hear them – so what! He that is in me is greater than he that is in the world, 1 John 4:4
- They will become self-fulfilling prophecies – not necessarily. Words I speak about others have power to build up or tear down, so we need to be careful how we speak to and about others. But asking for prayer because of struggles will not result in the bad happening, but through the prayers, blessings!
This reading shows us the fallacy of such thinking. Paul shares his burdens because he knows people will pray and God will grant blessings through prayer that will result in thanksgiving from many, many people.
Blessings will come through prayer because…
- God is the father of mercies, v.3 – so we don’t get what we deserve or even declare wrongly!
- God is the God of all comfort, v.4 – who when we pour out our lament, hears and acts, Psalm 142:2
- God gives us the Spirit powered fruit of patience, v.6
- God gives salvation to others when we pass on the comfort we have received, v.6.
So you can vocalise your struggles, afflictions and despair to others to solicit prayer and in prayer yourself!
Verse 11 has become the slogan of the ‘ENOUGH’ prayer meetings we have – “You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on your behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.”
- Prayer does indeed move the hand of God to grant blessing
- Corporate prayer is vital for the mission – “the prayers of many”.
How’s your prayer life? Do you have a prayer list to remind you what to pray for? Don’t forget there’s a “my prayer list” section on the app that you can create different items for different days.
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Android – http://www.tinyurl.com/AndroidChurchApp