Prayer Support (2 Cor 1:11)

Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf.” (2 Corinthians 1:11, KJV)

In the book of Exodus, we see a vivid picture of a battle between Amalek and Israel at Rephidim. (Exodus 17:8-13). Moses had Joshua lead the Israelites in battle down in the valley, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur were on the top of the hill. Moses held up the staff of God on top of the hill. This was a picture of Israel’s total dependence on God for victory. As long as Moses held the staff up, Israel was winning the battle. However, whenever Moses lowered his hand Amalek would prevail. We read that in time Moses’ hands grew weary, he could not constantly hold up the staff. However, Aaron and Hur then put a stone under Moses for a seat, and Aaron and Hur held up Moses’ hands until sunset. Thus, Joshua and the men of Israel overwhelmed Amalek and secured the victory for Israel.

This account portrays two big principles. First, The position of the staff of God portrayed the people’s dependence on God. As it was lifted up, it portrayed full dependence and as it lowered it portrayed a lack thereof. Consequently, the victory swayed between the two positions. It is that way in our Christian lives today. Total dependance leads to a walk of victory, while a lack thereof is paramount to spiritual failure. In the previous verse, Paul alluded to this truth, speaking of God. “Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us” (2 Corinthians 1:10, KJV). In the midst of severe life and death trials, he and his team put their total trust in God.

The second thing we see in Israel’s battle with Amalek is this. Moses, the leader, needed support. Aaron and Hur had to support his arms to hold up the staff. The point is that our leaders, and all of us for that matter, need support in the spiritual battles of this Christian life. Paul’s trials were not against flesh and blood. No, they were spiritual battles (Eph 6:12). Yes, even his physical sufferings while working to preach the gospel had their roots in the spiritual plane. Thus, we see that Paul, in this verse (11), sought to be supported in prayer. He indicated that their prayer was helping the team in their work so that they would successfully fulfill their calling.

As I was entering the ministry, I remember a Korean pastor who told me that the pastoral ministry was very difficult. At the time, I did not understand the truth of what he told me. I think many men enter the pastorate thinking that everything will be grand, that the church will grow, that there will never be any difficulties. I thought the same at one time. Then there came conflict. Not with everyone. Yet, a few made life difficult. Yes, there were those nasty and hurtful emails when I would preach a challenging sermon that hit a nerve. One of my mentors once said, “A pastor must have the skin of a rhinoceros and the heart of a lamb.” I say this to let you know that our pastors have a difficult calling and they need every parishioner’s prayer support.

I was in a church one time where a parishioner stated that the pastor stood up in the pulpit on Sunday morning all alone. He stated this in a derogatory way. I did not understand this as I do today. So, I did not really respond to the statement. Today I would ask, “Are you holding up his hands in prayer?” Think about it.

Published by Steve Hankins, Th.D.

Steve has had extensive military, business and ministry experience. He has served for over 16 years in full time vocational ministry and many years of part time ministry in churches. He has led churches through start-up and recasting of vision. Now He resides on the Outer Banks of North Carolina where he is working to help smaller churches and believers to renew their hearts and regain the joy of the Lord.

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