Why Did John Fail?

"His sermon was a masterpiece." "What skillful delivery from a teenager." John's sermon had been impressive. We admired this young man of our congregation who was showing such promise.

Occasionally I'd wonder, "Who is praying for John? He appears to be maturing spiritually, yet he doesn't come from a Christian home and have praying parents. Whose prayers are supporting him?"

Then John began missing church. At first he blamed his 8-hour-week work schedule and illness, but soon no excuses were made. Some of us in our congregation sadly shook our heads and bemoaned our loss, but did anyone go to God as his intercessor? Did anyone pray for him? When I heard that John now says he is an atheist and has lost interest in Christianity, my heart cries, "Why didn't I intercede for him during his crucial, decision-making days?"

In his book Life Together, Deitrich Bonhoeffer wrote, "A Christian fellowship lives and exists by the intercession of its members for one another, or it collapses." If we don't take seriously our responsibility to intercede for each other, we are likely to see cracks in our fellowship, corners breaking off that are difficult to restore.

The apostle Paul understood that prayer for each other is essential. Not only did he ask prayer for himself but also he wrote to the Christians he had nurtured, "We constantly pray for you." (2 Thessalonians 1:11a).

In Israel's first battle, Moses sent Joshua to lead the army. Then he took Aaron and Hur and went up to the top of the hill to pray. Through the day, one fact became apparent. The armed soldiers did not determine the winning side. If it had not been for the prayer warriors, the battle would have been lost.

Dear Jesus, please give me Your sensitivity to pray for those in need. Stir me to remember that another's spiritual well-being may depend upon my prayers.

"...constantly I remember you in my prayers at all times" (Romans 1:9b-10).