I’ve always had a heart for missions and missionaries. I love when they visit our church and share their stories. The church organization I grew up in would have missionaries return to The States every few years to share what they were doing with the sending churches and to raise more funds. They would pass out these business cards that usually had their picture on it and the words, “Pray for us.” I remember hearing several tell stories of when they were in certain situations and they could feel the prayers of someone on the other side of the world. I knew then how important it was to pray for missionaries and others whom God put on my heart. I decided at a young age to make it a point to pray for someone at the moment they asked or in the moment God brought them to mind.
Paul started off in 2 Corinthians 1 reminding Christians that when we go through painful times, God is right there with us giving us comfort. He does that so that we can come alongside others who are going through difficult times to bring comfort to them. He reminds us that he experienced a lot of suffering for Christ and therefore had lots of comfort to offer others. When we go through a season of difficult times, it’s often an opportunity for God to fill us up with empathy that others will need. It also shapes how we pray for someone. When we’ve gone through something painful or traumatic, it shapes how we pray and what we pray for. Those prayers are felt by those whom we pray for because they’re born out of the comfort we’ve received from God in our time of need.
In verse 11, Paul writes, “Because there are so many interceding for us, our deliverance will cause even more people to give thanks to God. What a gracious gift of mercy surrounds us because of your prayers!” (TPT) Your prayers surround others with gifts of mercy. Who has God laid on your heart to pray for? Don’t pass up the moment to pray for them or try to dismiss what God is asking you to do. Your prayers matter and have a powerful effect (James 5:16). Whether it’s a missionary in another country, a friend or family member, when God asks you to pray, do it. Just like there are moments when you need someone to be praying for you, others need you to pray for them. Sometimes it’s the difference between life and death. Don’t discount your prayers and the effect they can have.