March 20 | Bible in a Year: Joshua 1–3; Mark 16
The Purple Shawl
I urge you . . . to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me.
READ Romans 15:23–33
While serving as my mom’s live-in caregiver at a cancer center hundreds of miles away from my home, I asked people to pray for us. As the months passed, isolation and loneliness sapped my strength. How could I care for my mom if I gave in to my physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion?
One day, a friend sent me an unexpected care package. Jodi had crocheted a purple prayer shawl, a warm reminder that we had people praying for us daily. Whenever I wrapped the soft yarn around my shoulders, I felt God hugging me with the prayers of His people. Years later, He still uses that purple shawl to comfort me and strengthen my resolve.
The apostle Paul affirmed the importance and spirit-refreshing power of praying for others. Through his passionate request for prayerful support and encouragement during his travels, Paul demonstrated how those who pray for others become partners in ministry (Romans 15:30). Offering specific requests, the apostle not only showed his dependence on the support of fellow believers but his trust that God powerfully answers prayer (vv. 31–33).
We’ll all experience days when we feel alone. But Paul shows us how to ask for prayer as we pray for others. When we’re wrapped in the intercessory prayers of God’s people, we can experience God’s strength and comfort no matter where life takes us.
By Xochitl Dixon
REFLECT & PRAY
Loving God, thank You for the gift of intercessory prayers and for assuring me that You hear me and care for me wherever I go.
Read Moving Mountains: The Practice of Persistent Prayer at DiscoverySeries.org/Q0740.
Who has God used to encourage you through intercessory prayer? Who can you pray for today?
The book of Acts tells us that Paul desired to go to Rome to minister (19:21). During his three-month stay in Corinth at the end of his third missionary journey (20:2–3), he wrote to the Roman believers in Jesus about his proposed visit and to solicit support for his future work in Spain (Romans 1:10–15; 15:23–24, 28–29). Giving a summary of his missionary work and his future plans (15:14–33), the apostle said he had proclaimed the gospel of Christ “from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum [modern-day Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, and Albania]” (v. 19). But not ready to retire just yet, Paul intended to push further west all the way to Spain, visiting Rome on the way (v. 28).