My perspective on prayer has changed a lot. I never was a huge practitioner of it, nor would I have been someone to talk about it due to a lack of understanding and experience.
But God is a great Teacher, and one of the main ways He has changed that perspective is through you. People may have said to me before they were praying for me, but I didn't really base much on it. However, due to circumstances, Sara and I would be honest to tell you that when people, you awesome people, say you pray for us... we feel that statement deeply... like iron reinforcements in our bones.
It comforts us to know that people are talking to God for our benefit, it helps us feel like we are on sturdier ground, and love is known through fellowship like I haven't known before. I was thinking of your prayers this morning. I want you to know as a reminder that God's Word reminds us that your labors in prayer are pleasing to Him.
Secondly, when you pray, you labor with us in our afflictions. You may not have cancer or deal with some of the same experiences, but, because you love God foremost and us second in your prayers, you labor and suffer with us as we serve as one united body with Christ as our Head. In a special way, we sense you laboring alongside us and through His Spirit's work in our mutual lives and you help carry us when we want to quit.
Thirdly, we do a profound thing when we suffer together. I was reading Thomas Watson's "All Things for Good", and He reminds us that when we labor in afflictions, we prove that we don't serve God purely out of self interest. Such is the accusation from those who hate God: seeing us as weak people seeking only a pass on our sins... like desiring only the winning ticket at the last breath to an eternal lottery. When we labor in affliction, we prove through His power and Spirit in us that God's grace and God Himself is enough... worthy of our affections whether He gives or He takes away.
Fourthly, it frustrates our enemy. Forever seeking to separate us from God, his mission strives to rob God of glory (as if that were possible) by trying to make us love this world, doubt God's character or His Word or His precious promises.
Thank you for laboring with us. Thank you for helping us feel your love in prayer. Thank you for laboring and sharing the burden. Thank you for proving God is enough in prayer. And, thank you for making the devil madder than, well, himself.