A Brief Meditation for the Month

August 2021

The importance of God’s people praying for one another is emphasized throughout Scripture. It is a distinguishing characteristic of true Christians: wherever they are in the world, they share their burdens: Galatians 6:2. They care for each other. In times of personal trouble, trial, or difficulty, God’s children should therefore be confident that other believers are not just sympathetic, but that they are seeking God in prayer on their behalf: James 5:16. Those who are particularly useful in the service of God should be constantly and consistently the subjects of earnest, believing prayer that their usefulness might be sustained: even increased, or extended. Paul, the apostle to the gentiles, who experienced many divine deliverances throughout his ministry, expressed his appreciation to the Corinthians for their faithful prayer support. He wrote to them, “ye also helping together by prayer for us.” 2Corinthians 1:10–11. While God is unquestionably sovereign, ordering his children’s experiences, he nevertheless responds to their prayers and petitions on behalf of one another, because these are incorporated within his all-wise, and sometimes, mysterious purpose.

It is recorded of Martin Luther, around the year 1540, when the news reached him that Philip Melanchthon, his fellow-reformer, was dying, he immediately rushed to see him. Luther was so convinced that Melanchthon was needed for the ongoing work of the Reformation that he appealed to God to spare him. When he reached the bedside of his friend, it seemed that Melanchthon was on the very verge of eternity with no hope of recovery. Nevertheless, Luther refused to let go. It is said that “Luther was in an agony of intense consternation.” Falling upon his knees, he “poured out one of those passionate, irresistible prayers.” Martin Luther prayed: “We implore Thee, O Lord our God, we cast all our burdens on Thee; and will cry till Thou hearest us, pleading all the promises which can be found in the Holy Scriptures respecting Thy hearing prayer, so that Thou must indeed hear us to preserve at all future periods our entire confidence in Thine own promises.” He then seized the hand of his friend with the words: “Be of good courage, Philip, thou shalt not die; trust in the Lord, who can impart new life.” God so answered Luther’s prayer that Melanchthon experienced a remarkable recovery, was restored, and outlived him. In 1546, it was Philip Melanchthon who conducted the funeral of his great friend, who, like Jacob, had “power with God and with men.” Genesis 32:28.

In these times when God’s hand is stretched out in judgment throughout the nations of the world, his dear people are not exempt from the consequences. They, too, suffer along with those who refuse to acknowledge the voice of God, calling them through these devastating events—such as COVID-19, droughts, fires, floods, and plagues—to turn to him. Although Christ’s followers are “not of the world,” in the sense that they are of a different spirit, with a different attitude towards God to many of their contemporaries, they are nevertheless “in the world.” John 17:16. They cannot, therefore, escape from the consequences of much that occurs in this world. However, they have access to God’s throne of grace to “obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16. Dear believer, whatever your pressing needs, or those of your brothers and sisters in Christ at this present time, we have a source of help which neither government agencies nor social services possess: therefore, let us make good use of it. The throne of grace is open and freely accessible to you.

G. G. Hutton.