Prayer for Restoration
“But we pray to God that you may not do wrong – not that we may appear to have met the test, but that you may do what is right, though we may seem to have failed. For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. For we are glad when we are weak and you are strong. Your restoration is what we pray for.” 2 Corinthians has 7-9
Paul was planning his third trip to Corinth. In his letter he has addressed ways that the Corinthians are not living for Christ. Apparently they also had become critical of Paul. They saw him as weak and not authoritarian enough. The final paragraphs of this letter include warnings for them but also include this little prayer. He is warning them to examine themselves.
“Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? Unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” 2 Corinthians 13:5
Now what I think Paul is saying in this verse is a good word for us today too. Basically he is telling them, before you throw stones at me or anyone else, you need to look at yourself. Is Jesus living in you? If He is then you need to live like He is. Where is your faith? Are you spending so much time criticizing Paul or someone else that you are failing to look at your own life? Am I? I can fall into this trap if I am not very careful. Of thinking that I am living more for Christ than someone else. I am not to hold myself up to anyone else’s standard but Jesus, ever. I need not think myself superior nor inferior to someone else’s Christian walk.
When Paul prays this prayer, he is saying no matter what you think of me, whether I am getting it right or wrong, I am praying that you get it right. Paul says I am standing for truth whether you think I am weak and you are strong or not, I am standing with truth! You can listen to Paul or not.
Then Paul sums it up quite nicely. “Your restoration is what we pray for.” (v. 9) That’s what Paul cares about. He cares that Jesus is in them and that they will be restored to Jesus.
I think too many times when we are praying for someone else’s restoration, or even our own restoration we get too caught up in the specifics. What I mean here is this, we get caught up in the sins that may be being committed and throwing stones at our brothers and sisters and even at ourselves for the things we or they may be doing. When what is paramount above all else is Jesus! Is Jesus Christ in you? If He is, it is His job to convict of sin. It is His job to lead and guide and direct us. It is His job to show His power and might, not ours. It is our job to pray. If you have someone you are praying for and Christ is not in them, you start praying that Christ will reveal Himself to them. And if you have someone that you know knows Christ, but they have pushed Him into a little corner and they are not living from their faith, then you pray that Christ will break the chains and that He will show them the best way to live. It is His job to convict of sin. It is our job to pray for the restoration.
I truly love this prayer. It may be my favorite that we have studied thus far. I want to partner with Jesus in praying for some people for restoration to Him and I want to put away my judgment of others and just to love them where they are. And I also pray for myself. I test myself to be sure that Jesus is in me and that I haven’t pushed Him into the corner!