Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf. – 2 Corinthians 1:11
The Apostle Paul spends much of the book of 2 Corinthians defending his apostleship. He appears to be greatly burdened, and thus greatly appreciative of the love, support, and prayers on his behalf by the Corinthian believers.
For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you. – 2 Corinthians 2:4
After studying the meaning of the Greek words in 2 Corinthians 1:11, I was delighted to discover a lovely bit of imagery hidden between the lines. The phrase “many persons” means faces; that is, it referred to faces of many believers turned up to God in prayer, as in the early Jewish and Christian posture of prayer. Commentator David Guzik references Bernard, who describes this as “standing with uplifted eyes and outstretched arms.”
What a comfort that image must have been to the Apostle Paul: many brothers and sisters in Christ beseeching God on his behalf, their faces and palms turned heavenward.
As it happens, Jesus also prayed in this manner for his disciples.
And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. – Luke 24:49-51
To me, both the posture and subject of these prayers have provided insight and inspiration.
God desires that we open ourselves utterly to him as we pray, body and soul. While praying with head bowed, or on one’s knees, reveals humility, why not also try praying with eyes and hands lifted to heaven?
And, when we pray in this way, may it be for others, as it was when the Corinthian believers prayed for Paul, and when Jesus blessed his disciples.
Right now, our ministry leaders and missionaries need our prayers more than ever, just as the Apostle Paul did during a difficult time in his life and ministry.
I look forward to finding a private place to pray, where I can lift up my hands and heart, on behalf of the ministry leaders and missionaries in my life.
Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice. – Psalm 141:2
What is your typical posture of prayer? Who are you particularly praying for right now? I very much appreciate your comments.