2 Corinthians 1:1-11 (NIV)
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the church of God in Corinth, together with all his holy people throughout Achaia: 2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Praise to the God of All Comfort
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. 8 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him, we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, 11 as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.
Who do you know who is under intense pressure? How would Paul have you pray for them?
Holy God, the year 2020 has been a challenge for everyone. There has been physical persecution for those who think differently than the mob. We faced criticism, ridicule, sickness, depression, bereavement, injustice, disappointments, temptations, and difficult personal relationships. There has been sickness, fear, isolation, hatred, anger, and betrayal. Many are suffering from loneliness, depression, despair, and are paralyzed by fear. But You Lord, are not far from us. You have never left our side. You never disappoint us. Come to our aid and comfort us so that we can share that same comfort with others in trouble. In times of difficulty, we should experience an extraordinary closeness of Christian relationships as we comfort and encourage one another. Lord, help us to stop trusting in ourselves and start trusting in You. Strengthen our faith through the pressure. Difficulties lead to patience, endurance, steadfastness, and perseverance. Transform our character to be more like You. Cover us with Your Spirit and let Your church be the light that this world so desperately needs. We have set our hope on You and trust that You will continue to deliver us through our prayers. Although we begin 2021 in darkness, we pray that it will break into light and give us relief from the grip of evil. We pray for a revival of Your people in 2021 to bring peace, love, and unity to the world in Your name. We give thanks to You for Your gracious favor granted to us in answer to our prayers. Praise to You, the God of All Comfort. Amen