Saturday, October 22, 2011

"The Fruit of Prayer" Part 17

17 -
Prayer and the Healer of Hearts
We often return in these devotionals to the Apostle Paul's teaching, most pointedly expressed in his second epistle to the Corinthians, that our sorrows and losses are meant to be the basis from which we minister God's comfort to others.
    "Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God" (II Corinthians 1:3-4).
    The Christian faith itself began in such loving determination, as the sufferings and death of the Lord Jesus Christ birthed for us our very hope of salvation and eternal life.  "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit" (I Peter 3:18).  This same wondrous Savior now lives in us, and Scripture calls us to "walk even as He walked" (I John 2:6).  Thus are born again believers granted the amazing privilege of viewing our sorrows as God's redeeming means by which others experience His comfort as they trust the Christ we minister to them.
    Our prayers are a primary means by which we distribute this balm born of buffeting, as it were.  When we hurt, an altar of prayer lies before us, an altar whereby the Holy Spirit would lead us to pray for others experiencing the same challenges and difficulties.  Job's sufferings ended when the Lord brought him to such a sacred and holy place: "And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends" (Job 42:10).  Our own sorrows may not "end" in the sense that we no longer hurt when we join our brother of old in such ministry.  They do, however, become a very different thing in our hearts and minds as our Heavenly Father turns our focus upward and away from self-centeredness by leading us to use our sufferings to bring comfort to others.
     Somewhere, someone else always hurts as we hurt.  Someone has lost, as we have lost.  Someone mourns as we mourn, and cries as we cry.  And somewhere, the heart of someone else lies shattered on the ground, seemingly beyond hope and repair.  It is not, of course, because the Lord Jesus can redeem and heal any broken heart brought to Him in faith.  Our prayers, prayed for others from our own sorrows, can be a sacred means by which the Holy Spirit shines a bright and illuminating ray of hope upon the face of the Healer of hearts.  This is the holy way paved for us by such a glorious One, and it is now our way as He dwells and walks in us.  May God grant much grace of remembrance, leading us to visit the altar of "comforting them, which are in any comfort, by the comfort which we ourselves are comforted."
"We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.  For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you."
(II Corinthians 4:8-12)

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