A simple examination of our prayers reveal that we seem to gain by a lot of our requests to God. We pray for our churches that we attend; we pray for our families and friends; we pray for our neighbours that we live close to; so many things that actually if God answers then we will in some way benefit. Then there are other times we will pray complete give-away prayers. In a few moments I will click onto a zoom call where intercessors will pray for missions around the world that the majority will have no contact with nor will they ever visit. Praying for zero-gain.
Last Saturday the small church building was filled to capacity as Christians from several churches came to support their friends who were being inducted as the new Pastor. I asked them to remember to pray for them. Can you imagine the impact if they did? If say 40 Christians constantly prayed for this new Pastor and family?
“First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. God, whom I serve in my spirit in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you.” (Romans 1 v 8-10)
To a people he has never met and to churches he has never planted, the Apostle Paul says he has been constantly praying for them at all times!
Probably not wanting it to be taken literally Paul says their faith is known all over the world! Word has certainly got out that things are happening in Rome. A tough place to be with the culture being polytheistic for the monotheistic Christian and Jew they found it difficult and would be soon experiencing horrible persecution under Nero and then later Domitian at the end of that century. Perhaps Paul is praying into this as Nero commences his reign. Maybe he is thanking God for the Jewish Christians having come to faith recently in Rome? Maybe he is praying for the tension between Christians and Jews which he will speak of later in his letter? One thing we do know is that as he prayed his desire to be there grew. A lesson for any Pastor: if you want to get people involved get them to pray into it first!
A couple of weeks ago I met with 40 Pastors for a 24 hour prayer gathering. I saw how they gathered around each other and prayed for blessing on one another’s lives and churches. They were give-away prayers. Prayers for no personal gain. I hope they are still praying for them today.
Can you pray for something or someone right now that has zero gain for you? Perhaps God is going to stir your heart as you do and maybe you will have a desire to visit that person/place or become involved further in that area that needs God. Praying for that old man who lives alone across your street may lead you to knock on his door to see if he is okay? Maybe praying for zero gain makes our world a better place? Let’s keep on doing it!