“You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.”
Our privilege to bring our requests to the Creator of the universe is fantastic. That God would allow us to worship Him, and extol his goodness and omnipotence is believable, but to realize that The Almighty God of the universe allows us, and even encourages us to bring our needs to him is fantastic. Yet that is precisely what we discover throughout the pages of Scripture.
This verse from 2 Corinthians 1:11 expresses several great truths about prayer.
First, notice that we can help and assist others towards positive results in their ministry by our partnership in prayer. The Apostle Paul requests assistance through prayer from the church in Corinth. God will answer our intercession for the needs of ministers working at a far distance from where we are praying. It is God’s prerogative to bless them by answering our prayer requests on their behalf. In this process, we become team members of their ministry.
Secondly, the answers to prayer ignite thanksgiving to God. The result of our teamwork is not higher praise of ourselves, but rather a multiplication of the worship given to God. We are aware of the frontline workers for the gospel, and many gifted preachers may be famous within the Christian community. But, we will not be mindful of the prayer warriors until we reach heaven. God will receive the praise and glory for his answers to their prayers.
Thirdly, we note that there are two groups of the “many” in this verse. God is pleased to have groups of people coming to him with the same requests. He has expressed in Scripture that he is present in the midst of two or three. Here there is a request that “many” should pray. That is a fundamental goal in the ministry of White Fields. We bring the requests from the pastors around the world, translate the prayer reports, edit them for ease to understand, and then distribute them to our prayer partners. I know that God is pleased when “many” seek his face with the requests of these pastors. Maybe it is because it demonstrates our faith that God is able to answer the request even though we are so far away.
The second group of the “many” is on the other end of the prayer request. The people experiencing the answer to the prayer give thanks to God. To help our humanness, God has placed us in the middle of the process of prayer. If God just provided for the needs, but there was no prayer involved, we might not recognize that it was God giving the provision.
To illustrate this connection, let me share an experience I once had. I was in the Philippines just a few hours after sunrise. I made a phone call to my wife, who was standing on the beach in San Diego, watching the sunset. As I spoke with her, she expressed that the sun had just dipped below the horizon. But, I said, I’m looking at the same sun right here, and it is rising in the sky. It struck me then that prayer is just like that. Someone in some part of the world may feel that they are facing tremendous struggles, (the sun is setting, and their world is getting dark). But, I can pray to our Heavenly Father (who I see is high in the sky), and he will answer the request. When that answer comes, the “many” on the receiving end give thanks to God because he provided the answer to their need.
I call this vital part of the ministry Intercessory Teamwork. I hope you will join us in bringing the prayer requests to our Lord.