June 17, 2016 Brethren Letter
Tonight, we received a call from a Church member who had been in the hospital for several weeks suffering with excruciating abdominal pain. Her doctors were at a loss of how to help. When we last saw her a week ago, she asked me if I would ask for the prayers of the brethren. I did! I’m very pleased to announce that her pain stopped COMPLETLY on its own, and she was able to return home on Wednesday.
In 2014, I wrote a “Brethren Letter” on the subject of Praying for Others. I thought it would be a good letter to re-send once again, as we continue our prayers for others.
Sincerely, Your Brother in Christ,
February 21, 2014
God’s divine nature is the nature of love — of giving, serving, helping — of outgoing concern. (The Good News of Tomorrow’s World – Personal from the Editor, Herbert W. Armstrong, July, 1969).
I was talking with one of our Church members earlier this evening, and they asked for prayers about a health issue they are currently undergoing. That person can count on those prayers for their healing.
Brethren, when we pray in earnestness to God for the well-being of others, we’re actually displaying a willingness to give of ourselves and serve. By praying for others, we are showing our concern for them as an example of the “GIVE” way! “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:4-5).
In Colossians 4 we read of a well-known man who specifically prayed for the brethren. His name was Epaphras. “Epaphras, who is one of yourselves, salutes you—a servant of Christ Jesus who is always earnest in prayer for you, that you may stand firm like mature and convinced Christians, whatever be the will of God for you” (Colossians 4:12 – Moffatt Translation).
The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures has some very good information about Epaphras, some of which I’ll include here.
Epaphras … was a Colossian (one of you) whom Paul depicted as a servant of Christ Jesus who was always wrestling (agōnizomenos)… in prayer… for the Colossians.
His concern was that the Colossians would stand firm in God’s will… mature (teleioi, “perfected”) and fully assured … or fulfilled. This fits the overall theme of Colossians: that believers be mature, perfected in Christ.
Epaphras’ prayerful concern went to the point of working hard (lit., “has much pain”; ponon, “pain or distress,” … His painful labor was for all the believers in the Lycus Valley—those in Colosse, Laodicea, and Hierapolis …
Epaphras displayed genuine outgoing concern for the brethren, that they should stand firm and mature in the faith. He is just one example. Other examples on this subject were expressed by the apostle Paul, and the servant James.
(1) Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus,
(2) To Timothy, a beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
(3) I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience, as my forefathers did, as without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day, (II Timothy 1:1-3).
(1) Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:
(2) Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
(3) I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,
(4) always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy,
(5) for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now,
(6) being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; (Philippians 1:1-6).
(14) Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.
(15) And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.
(16) Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much (James 5:14-16).
Brethren, these are excellent examples of how we should be praying for each another.
Finally, a quote by Mr. Armstrong, written in a “Brethren Letter” dated March 2, 1967:
When ONE part of the BODY of CHRIST suffers, do we ALL suffer — do we have this LOVE — this OUTGOING CONCERN — for others in the Church? “By this,” said Jesus, “shall all men KNOW that ye are my disciples — IF ye have LOVE one for another.”
Please have a wonderful Sabbath!
Your Brother in Christ,