“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” -Romans 12:12
A Godly desire for a vibrant prayer life will be tested in this world of pains and afflictions. Whether things are going well or poorly, whether in comfort or pain, rejoicing or weeping, I am to be “constant in prayer,” or faithfully devoted to prayer.
How do I persist in a vibrant prayer life when things are going well in my life? I am to rejoice in hope. How do I persist in a vibrant prayer life when in tribulation? I am to be patient. Whether I am rejoicing in hope or patient in tribulation, I gather strength from sweet communion by the Spirit with the heavenly Father through Christ in prayer.
Yet, we need help to obey this commandment of Scripture. To rejoice in hope, faithfully endure in all afflictions and trials, and faithfully devoted to prayer is a community project. The early church “with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer” (Acts 1:14) and “devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42).
The hope of a healthy, vibrant prayer life of a follower of Christ that endures all things and rejoices in hope leans heavily on a local church that enjoys a healthy, vibrant prayer life together. Later in Romans 12 Paul commands us to “rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” A rejoicing hope is not enjoyed in isolation, but celebrated in the community of a church family. A tear is not to be shed in simple solitude, but grieved in the community of a church family. And all of this in a love for one another which enjoys a healthy, vibrant life of devoted prayer together.
Often, we are tempted that our value in friendships within a local church family is dependent on our own usefulness. Yet, we simply rejoice with those rejoicing and weep with those weeping. There is an end to our counseling and consoling, even an end to our usefulness in labors. Yet Christ’s ability has no end. When hope calls for rejoicing or afflictions test patience in lives around us, we are called to devote ourselves to prayer.
Beloved, do not simply give words or deeds as a church family, but devote yourselves to prayer. Pray for and with one another in love for one another in Christ regularly. May we, the building up of spiritual stones, be made into a house of prayer. By God’s grace we petition for and with one another with thanksgiving in our hearts that His peace that surpasses understanding guards our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Guards to rejoice in hope; guards to be patient in tribulation.
Heavenly Father, make us into Your house devoted to prayer, pleading for Your needed mercies for each other considering other’s interest above our own. Be glorified in Your praying people. In Jesus’ name. Amen.