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The Scriptorium

Ultimate Help

Right where God wants us. 2 Corinthians 1.8-12

2 Corinthians 1 (3)

Pray Psalm 143.1, 2.
Hear my prayer, O LORD,
Give ear to my supplications!
In Your faithfulness answer me,
And in Your righteousness.
Do not enter into judgment with Your servant,
For in Your sight no one living is righteous.

Sing Psalm 143.1, 2.
Divinum Mysterium: Of the Father’s Love Begotten)
Hear my earnest prayer, O LORD! Give ear to my pleas for grace!
In Your faithfulness and righteousness, look upon me with Your face!
Enter not to judgment with Your servant, LORD, with Your loving servant, LORD:
None can stand before Your Word.

Read 2 Corinthians 1.1-11; meditate on verses 8-11.

1. How did the Corinthians help Paul in his time of trial?

2. What was the result of that?

Paul may be referring to the trouble he encountered in Ephesus when riots broke out, led by pagan idol-makers (Acts 19). Here we glimpse just how deeply concerned Paul was when that happened. It was “trouble” “beyond measure, above strength” so that Paul even feared for his life (v. 8).

But rather than back down from his faith, Paul refortified his soul to continue trusting in God (vv. 9, 10). For he determined that, even if he should die from this trial, God would “still deliver” him. Death had no hold on Paul, and the prospect of it was not enough to thwart his ministry.

Especially not when so many other believers—including the Corinthians—were praying for him (v. 11). The prayers of other believers helped Paul to continue in his ministry, despite threats and trials, so that the grace of God could spread to more and more people, issuing in thanks and praise to the Lord (2 Cor. 4.15).

Let us never underestimate the power of prayer. God uses the prayers of His people to further His Kingdom and glory on earth as these exist in heaven. He allows us to participate in this work by seeking Him in prayer, calling on Him for strength and interceding for one another in our callings. Those who are prayed for must report to those who pray for them on how the Lord is answering their prayers, that all may join in public thanksgiving for the grace of the Lord.

We tend to think of prayer as our last line of defense in times of need. In fact, prayer is our greatest help, the ultimate help, because it keeps us before the face of Him Who loves us with everlasting and never-failing love.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
We have two dogs: one is food driven, the other not so much.
The same with people. Some live to eat, others eat to live.
Either way, food is important.

As I am very food driven, my mind went to Paul’s previous complaint of the church not supporting him, thus in order to eat and have shelter, he needed a job in addition to his church work. Being hungry could certainly suffice for his words “burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired of life” (2 Cor. 1.8).

“Now Jacob cooked a stew; and Esau came in from the field, and he was weary. And Esau said to Jacob, ‘Please feed me with that same red stew, for I am weary.’” Then the brothers dickered about the red stew and what Esau would have to give for it, when he finally said, “Look, I am about to die; so what is this birthright to me?” (Gen. 25.29-34). Esau gave away his birthright for a bowl of stew because he was so hungry.

“Two things I request of you (deprive me not before I die):
Remove falsehood and lies far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches—feed me with the food allotted to me;
lest I be full and deny You, and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’
Or lest I be poor and steal, and profane the name of my God” (Prov. 30.7-9).

Prayer for our fellow Christians and for ourselves is supremely important and should be the first step to any other activity we pursue. But after we have prayed for the hungry, we must make our best effort to eradicate this dire condition. Jesus listed this as the first thing He loved that was done for Him, and by extension others, “I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink…” (Matt. 25.35). These physical needs being met are tantamount to survival.

With all the Christians on the planet there is no reason why anyone should be hungry. Or anyone, like Paul, should not be paid. And yet, many go to bed at night, in this country and elsewhere, without having had enough to eat that day.

Enter tithing. “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me!” (Mal. 3.8). By not doing so.
“‘Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house.
And try Me now in this,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it’” (Mal. 3.10).

That sounds definitive to me.

Pray. Tithe. Work. And no one should ever “despair of their life” from hunger or thirst, because God’s people are on the job, tending to those needs of the Church worldwide.

“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4.16).

For reflection
1. Who are the people who pray daily for you? Have you thanked them lately?

2. For whom do you pray daily? Do you let them know that you’re praying for them (Paul did)?

3. Why do we say that prayer is our “ultimate help”?

…when we mutually pray one for another, and obtain our desire, the glory of God is so much the more set forth, inasmuch as we all acknowledge, with thanksgiving, God's benefits ― both those that are conferred publicly upon the whole Church, and also those that are bestowed privately upon individuals. John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on 2 Corinthians 1.11

Pray Psalm 143.5-12.
Give thanks and praise to God for your salvation, past deliverances, daily help, and guidance in all your ways. Wait on Him in listening prayer as you prepare for your day.

Sing Psalm 143.5-12.
Divinum Mysterium: Of the Father’s Love Begotten)
I recall the days of old; on Your works I meditate—
all the wonders of Your mighty hand, works both small, O LORD, and great.
LORD, my thirsty soul cries out for help to You! To You, LORD, I reach my hand
in a dry and weary land.

Answer quickly, O my LORD! Do not hide from me Your face!
For my spirit fails and I am like those who do not know Your grace.
In the morning let me hear Your steadfast love; LORD I trust You, show my way!
I lift up my soul and pray!

Rescue me from all my enemies! LORD, I refuge seek in You.
Let me know Your will, O LORD my God; make me know what I must do.
Let Your Spirit lead me on to level ground; save my life! Preserve my soul!
Rescue, LORD, and make me whole!

T. M. and Susie Moore

The Church in Corinth was in need of revival. But there was much to be done before that would happen. The Church today is in need of revival, and the same is true for us. Our book, Revived!, can help us to discern our need for revival and lead us in getting there. Order your copy by clicking here.

Support for Scriptorium comes from our faithful and generous God, who moves our readers to share financially in our work. If this article was helpful, please give Him thanks and praise.

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalteravailable by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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