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Discover the Book - May 17, 2008

  • 2008 May 17

Share Struggles—Share Prayers


You also helping together in prayer for us, that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the gift granted to us through many.

—2 Corinthians 1:11, emphasis added


The word sunopourgeo, translated “helping together,” is used only here in the Greek New Testament and is composed of three words: “with, under, work.” It is a picture of laborers under the burden, working together to get the job accomplished. Paul enlists the help of other believers to hold him up in his emotional, physical, and spiritual struggles. (This was in addition to the Holy Spirit’s promise in Romans 8:26 to assist us in our praying and help carry our load.)


Difficulties, especially in these end days, should draw us closer to other Christians as we share our burdens and prayer needs. When experiencing the trials of life, we need to remember what God has promised us, and what He has commanded us to do.


In 1 Thessalonians 5, there are more imperative commands than in any other paragraph in God’s Word. It is one of the clearest descriptions of the basic duties of a believer in Christ’s church. In verses 11-26, we are commanded:


  • Comfort each other.
  • Edify one another.
  • Be at peace among yourselves.
  • Warn those who are unruly.
  • Uphold the weak.
  • Be patient with all.
  • See that no one renders evil.
  • Always pursue what is good.
  • Rejoice always.
  • Pray without ceasing.
  • In everything give thanks.
  • Do not quench the Spirit.
  • Do not despise prophecies.
  • Test all things.
  • Hold fast to what is good.
  • Abstain from every form of evil.


In other words, we must take seriously Paul’s command to comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all (1 Thessalonians 5:14).


Make a choice to live in hope: What can depression, discouragement, and faintheartedness do for us? If we choose to live in hope, as we regularly cry out to the Lord, it can inspire us to some of the deepest and greatest discoveries about God we can ever make!


In perhaps his deepest depression, Martin Luther wrote one of Christendom’s greatest hymns. In 1527 he wrote: “For more than a week I was close to the gates of death and hell. I trembled in all my members. Christ was wholly lost.”


Here is Luther’s testimony about the great discoveries he made about God during his lengthy periods of being in melancholy, heaviness, depression, dejection of spirit, downcast, sad, and downhearted:


A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth is His Name, from age to age the same,

And He must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.

Martin Luther, 1483-1546









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