Prayer over suffering and comfort. (2 Corinthians 1: 3-7)

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1 Week 9: Prayer over suffering and comfort (What happened? Week in review) (2 Corinthians 1: 3-7) 3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. 6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. Elements: 1. Prayer of thanksgiving Prayer: 1. 3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 2. Prayer of worship 2. the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, 3. Prayer of petition/intercession our distress... your comfort and salvation our being comforted... for your comfort as you share in our sufferings... you share in our comfort 3. so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. 6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. 29

2 Comfort : 1. Defined: Comfort (Greek - Parakleton ) - a. Literally: para to be around, to surround; and kletos to call out. b. So: One who is in us Who calls out for us, speaks for us, intercedes for us c. Biblical: the Helper, the Comforter, the Holy Spirit 1. John 14: 15-17a If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever the Spirit of truth. 2. John 14: 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 3. John 15: 26 When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father he will testify about me. 4. John 16: 7 But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 5. Romans In the same way, the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Holy Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And He who searches our hearts knows the mind o f the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit intercedes for 30

3 the saints in accordance with God s will. 2. Pattern: Sorrow > Comfort 3. Comfort from God (Warning: this list is just a drop in the bucket!) a. Job 36: 15 But those who suffer He delivers in their suffering; He speaks to them in their affliction. b. Psalm 22: You who fear the LORD, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor him! Revere him, all you descendants of Israel! For he has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help. c. Psalm 107: 8-9 Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things. d. Isaiah 53: 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. 31

4 e. Psalm 23: 4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. f. Psalm 119: May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant. Let your compassion come to me that I may live, for your law is my delight. g. Others? 4. Comfort from the Church HOW? 5. Comfort from other Believers HOW? a. Receiving comfort 1. Job 2: 11 When Job s three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite, heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him. 2. When you are suffering, what does true comfort look like? 32

5 b. Giving comfort Strengthening your prayer life: 1. Foundations a. Find other translations of 2 Corinthians 1:3-7. Check out these Bible sites: Which translation speaks to you? What specific word or words caught your attention? Why? b. Write your own translation of the Prayer over suffering and comfort. c. Write a prayer of thanksgiving to God about your own comfort in times of suffering. Begin the prayer with a list. Then, as you pray, use full sentences. For each item on the list, tell God specifically why you are thankful for the comfort He brought for you. d. Write a prayer of thanksgiving to God about a person or about people. Again, begin with a list of people. Then, for each person on the list, tell God specifically why you are thankful for him or her and the comfort they individually bring to your life e. Choose one verse from Paul s prayer to the Corinthians. Write it down. Carry it with you. Repeat it, slowly, over and over. Meditate on that verse during your day. How does its meaning change for you? 33

6 2. Stretching a. Paul s prayer focuses on the union and unity between the church in Corinth and him. Paul wanted them to know (1) he is aware of their suffering; (2) they are not alone; (3) he, too, suffers; but (4) both his suffering and theirs will lead to comfort (for each other and with each other). Write a prayer of intercession for someone you know is suffering and is in need of comfort. In your prayer, share with God all that you know about this person and his/her needs. The more specific you can pray this intercession, the more God can continue to grow in you a heart like Christ s and will show you a way to be a source of comfort. b. What are your own hurdles 1. to recognizing suffering in others? 2. to being a source of comfort for others? Write a prayer for this week that you will pray daily, asking God to change your heart and your life so that the Holy Spirit will help you overcome these obstacles. 34

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