Are you a compassionate person? If not, do you want to be or think you should be? Do you know how to be compassionate, even if you cannot be with the person in need? Will you join them in the struggle they face?
Almost all of us have compassion for our family and friends. When they experience a hardship, we feel sorry for them and may offer to assist in some way. We may feel sorry for people who are affected by a weather disaster or war. But what do we do for them?
We can join in the struggle. We join by praying for those in need. We can spend a bit of time imagining the situation they face, putting ourselves in the midst of it, and asking what we would need. By doing this, we can better understand and increase our compassion for them. As our understanding and compassion improve, we can pray more effectively for them.
We may think that praying for others is minimal. It can be if our prayers are two-second, less than heartfelt prayers. But when we feel compassion for others, feeling as though we have been sucker punched in the gut, our prayers become more effective. God knows our feelings and our emotional investment in others. Jesus had this feeling for the people He encountered.
Paul asks for the people of the church in Rome to join him in his struggle by praying for him. He asked that they be emotionally committed, offering heartfelt prayers for him. Paul knew from his own experience that God listened to those intentional and intense prayers. God still listens when we pray with intensity and compassion.
I pray we all put ourselves in the situation in which we are praying for others. I pray we have compassion for others. I pray each one of us pray with intensity and compassion being emotionally involved. Join the struggle. Commit to prayer. Be compassionate. Pray intensely.
Romans 15:30 I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me.