10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and He will deliver us again. On Him we have set our hope that He will continue to deliver us, 11 as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.” 2 Corinthians 1:10-11
So yes, the suffering is real but Paul knows who is his very present Deliverer. The One who is able to save and protect. He had a great understanding of Matthew 10:28, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”
In fact, the following is what he had to say when in a Roman prison writing to the Philippians. He was willing to suffer for the cause of Christ.
12 Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. 13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 14 And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.
15 It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16 The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. 18 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.
Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. 20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
What I believe God would have us see in both the Corinthians and Philippians Scriptures on today is the the role of prayer in deliverance. We often say, ‘if only I could do something or I don’t know how to help.” These verses tell us the effectiveness of prayer and James 5:16 declares that “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.“ Paul is giving testimony to this truth!
The wonderful thing is that we do not have to know name or need. There are some things that are needed because we are on the battlefield for the Lord: wisdom, anointing, discernment, protection, sound doctrine, open doors, language barriers, strength, courage…and of course, we pray specific needs when we know them. The principle here is straight from Scripture, “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people (Ephesians 6:18).”
We don’t even have to leave our homes to be found faithful! 🙂 Come on, let’s get on with it, let’s strengthen our brothers and sisters through fervent and effectual prayer!