2 Corinthians 1 v 8 - 11

Paul was not a man to sit back and watch events unfolding from his ivory tower! It is true that he almost never worked alone-though it was recorded in Acts one time when he was waiting in Athens-but generally there was Barnabas, John Mark, Luke, Timothy or another helper with him. This may have been partially because of his erratic health, but we can consider it a good principle for evangelists to go out two by two as Jesus sent out His disciples.

When Paul refers here to the trouble he experienced in the PROVINCE of Asia, we should understand that this wasn't what we would term Asia today-China, India, Pakistan, Malaysia and so on-but it was a province within Europe of which Ephesus was the main city. Unfortunately, we have no reference as to what Paul endured there which was so bad that he feared death; this from a man who shrugged off beatings, imprisonments and shipwreck! However, whatever befell him there, he saw that it had one tremendous use: it had driven him back to God. and made him realise afresh his utter dependence upon Him. Each life-threatening episode in Paul's life caused him to go deeper in his trust in God. The confidence of the believer in God is not from theory and speculation, it is a thing of fact and experience.

Paul requests and invites prayers. No one is above the need to be prayed for. In the church in Cornwall, there was a fairly large group of very active elderly men and women of prayer. Gradually, one by one, they died and one of the effects I could feel from their deaths was a sense personally of vulnerability, I had lost another prayer defender! We may feel that we have little to give, but we always have the priceless treasure of our prayers.

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