“I thank my God always, making mention of you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and all the saints; and I pray that the fellowship of your faith may become effective through the knowledge of every good thing which is in you for Christ’s sake” [Philemon 1:5, 6]
A friend recently wrote something along these lines and I agree: We really don’t have true fellowship with those we haven’t or don’t pray for. Contrary to much modern belief and practice, Christian fellowship isn’t just showing up at a meeting, performing various religious rituals or hanging out with our friends. It is not something we can just bring together on our own by mutual agreement- rather this is something God Himself must originate, sustain and develop through His own means and our obedience to those means. The seed that He uses in this development of fellowship among His people is prayer. Without prayer, today’s “Christian” fellowship is mere hanging out and around other professing believers. As such and despite what many might claim, this “fellowship” is not effectual to bring about God’s true intentions.
If the verse above makes anything clear it is this: True effectual fellowship includes knowledge- knowledge of our spiritual inheritance (what we possess in Christ) as well as a knowledge of those possessions in others (how they work in and through them) which necessitates we intercede for those God calls His own in order to assist them in becoming what He intends them to become and prepare them for future service. Our intercession along these lines is what our Father uses to open the doors to others hearts and our various gifts being received by them.
One thing is certain: No one needs to know what I think, believe or feel outside of my relationship with Christ. All these things do matter and have their place, but only as they specifically relate to my service in Him. Prayer cuts through the heart of my selfish intentions toward others and brings to bear what matters most- the power of heaven upon the hearts and situations of others that only He truly sees and knows:
“For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God” [1 Corinthians 2:11]
Now we praise God because we do have the Spirit and therefore we can discern many things we previously could not. That said, our efforts will not suffice in drawing those things out in other people- the things hidden (sinful things or previous or present wounds) that need to be confessed or made known in some form) That is a specific function of God the Spirit which we bring to bear upon those people and situations through our prayers.
The primary calling of any and every born again Christian in the purposes of God is prayer. Many a word and many a truth may be spoken, but prayer makes those words and truths effectual in those with whom we interact.
True fellowship is first united in Spirit by God and afterwards united practically as we learn to intercede for the specific interests of our brethren as they open up and learn to be transparent one with another. My own reaction to the manner others perceive me and how I respond is an excellent indication of where my trust for change really lies.
It is only the prayerful man or woman who proves they trust in an Almighty God. One who is both capable and willing to perform in others what they themselves will not even attempt to alter.
“The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much”