Think of how often our prayers focus on our own needs: our own spiritual growth and the needs of our family and friends. We may spend much of our prayer time seeking the Lord about our personal walk with him: to be made holy; to have dominion over sin; to receive guidance for life; to have his anointing. And we enjoy sweet communion with him, quietly worshiping and being refreshed in his presence.
But according to God’s Word, sweet communion is not enough. Yes, it is the secret to spiritual growth but if we go to God’s throne only for our personal edification and needs, we are being selfish. Paul gives us an example of this. “For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life” (2 Corinthians 1:8). Paul was telling these saints, “Our crisis was so serious, it almost crushed me beyond my endurance.”
He continued, “When we came to Macedonia, our bodies had no rest … Outside were conflicts, inside were fears” (2 Corinthians 7:5). Although Paul was a mighty man of prayer and had great confidence in the Lord, he endured troubled times. He turned to the Lord and his promises but he also was supported in prayer by “helpers” — “[God] who delivered us … in whom we trust that He will still deliver us, you also helping together in prayer for us” (2 Corinthians 1:11).
One of the greatest needs in the Body of Christ today is the ministry of being a prayer helper. Paul often asked, even begged, for prayer: “Now I beg you, brethren, through the Lord Jesus Christ, and through the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in prayers to God for me, that I may be delivered” (Romans 15:30-31).”
You can begin the ministry of being a prayer helper today. Trust the Holy Spirit to sensitize you to the needs of others and start asking God to meet their needs.