Some call it fellowship, others simply a relationship and I’ve chosen the name partnering in life. Neither one, however, can fully reflect the meaning of the Greek κοινωνία (koinonia) better than the passage from Acts 2:42-47.
Today we tend to take relationships for granted. The Internet offers them at practically no cost, and so does the local school, sports club… oh, yes – even the church. So far – nothing wrong. Sadly enough, the fragrance of the koinonia seems to have faded away. Instead of being like a fresh Spring bloom, it’s more like a frozen vegetable which has then been microwaved – you wouldn’t know it smells like something if it weren’t for the big fat colored label on the package that tricks your mind into believing it does. We’re either really dumb fools or really lazy and indifferent to our own lives.
We like having partners in life as long as they don’t require much of us. As long as they don’t disturb out comfortable and well planned and organized living. It seems to me that the fancier mobile phones one can buy, the less we care about sincerely maintaining our relationships. Perhaps this would be quite a shock to Johann Philipp Reis (whom I credit as the inventor of the telephone). Nevertheless, my point is – the things that ought to draw us closer to each other seem to actually scatter us apart.
“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen” (Ephesians 3:14-21, NIV).
This is the way in which Paul prayed for the brothers and sisters from the church in Ephesus. Today, for some it may be surprising that this prayer does not include, say, a petition for a larger home for the church, more income from offerings and tithe, or even those prayers by name for the ones from the church who are sick or have other urgent material needs. On the other hand, apostle Paul may be well surprised at the prayers we say when lifting up our brothers and sisters before the Lord. What is different about Paul’s prayer? How can we also pray in a similar way, and why is it even important to pray in this way? Read along for more information answering these questions. read more
“…because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints…For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father” (Colossians 1:4,9-12, NIV)…
From our previous studies on different passages on prayer we know that prayer is not only personal, but also communal. It also ought not to be focused on our own will, but on God’s will instead. In the letter to the Colossians you will find the verses quoted above, which teach us even more about praying for our brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus… or in other words – how to pray for one another.
The first important lesson comes from verse 4. Apostle Paul and Timothy do pray for the believers from Colossae, but not because they are best friends or have some other type of a special relationship. As a matter of fact, Paul isn’t even the founder of this church. They two pray for these believers simply because they are their brothers and sisters in Christ.
Today the case seems to be different. In a time when there is more Christians than ever before, and communications are made easier by the hour, it seems that more and more people are in need of something extra in order to pray for their fellow-believers – whether we admit this or not, it is a fact that we can easily do much better. And God’s word teaches us precisely this! Do you pray continually for believers who are not from your vicinity? If not – what is preventing you from doing so, and what can you do to overcome it? read more