1 Thessalonians 5:25
Brothers, pray for us.
I. THE GROUNDS OF THIS APPEAL.
1. The character of the men required. "Pray ye, therefore, the Lord of the harvest," etc. The work requires fully qualified workers. It must have apostolic, unselfish, unworldly, spiritual, sympathetic, brotherly men. Pray for such. Only God can send them.
2. The work they are called to accomplish —
(1) There are evils to be vanquished before the good can be created — apathy, a dead conscience, helpless dependence on others. On the other hand, the missionary has to create a spirit of hopefulness and of self-help, and the recognition of the Divine claim. He has to secure a quickened conscience to stand trembling in the presence of sin, and yet able to rest immovable in the recollection of free grace and dying love.
(2) There are special difficulties he has to overcome.
(a) He has no human constraints. At home if a man neglects his work his material interest suffers; the salary of the missionary is constant. At home the pastor has his equals; abroad he is supreme. At home we are under constant inspection; the missionary is thousands of miles away from criticism. These constraints are very helpful, however unpalatable; and lacking them the missionary needs our prayers.
(b) He has no human helps of association and sympathy to which we owe so much, of these the missionary often knows nothing. What solitude of mind, heart and sorrow! far from country, kindred, home! All sights and sounds uncongenial.
(c) He meets with frequent and bitter disappointment — rank hypocrisy where conversion seemed sound.
(d) Then there is the climate and its effects. How much we are indebted to our much complained of and variable weather for the strength of our physique. In India the more regular climate seems to dry up all the energies. But this is nothing compared to the vitiating moral atmosphere.
II. THE NATURE OF THIS APPEAL.
1. What it supposes.
(1) Faith in prayer. Prayer is of the essence of religion, and if prayer be not availing then religion is an illusion and must die. But if it be availing then religion is a practical force and cannot die.
(2) Faith in the gospel, for it is the universal law of God's service that no man shall take a share in His work without faith. Without it we cannot please Him, secure His Spirit, nor rouse and devote our energies to the conversion of souls. But given faith all things are possible.
(3) Brotherly sympathy. Missionaries are "brethren" calling on the same Father, steeped in the same temper, going to the same reward.
2. What, if we comply with it, will it bring?
(1) All will be occupied at the same time and in the same work. Some are strong, some weak; some are rich, some poor; some are learned, others ignorant — but all can pray, and this is the grandest privilege and mightiest power of all.
(2) All will be benefitted by it. He who prays, he for whom prayer is offered.
(3) It will be for the Divine honour, "Not by might nor by power," etc.
(4) It will appropriate and apply God's benefits.
Parallel VersesKJV: Brethren, pray for us.