1a Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you:
The apostle Paul often requested brethren to pray for him and his fellow labourers in the work of the Gospel (cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:25; Hebrews 13:18). Though the apostles were called, equipped and endowed with the Holy Spirit and extraordinary miraculous gifts, they humbly beseeched the people of the church, both young and old, to pray for them. If Paul (with all his unique, miraculous apostolic gifts) required the prayers of God’s people, how much more preachers and pastors of our time need the prayer support of the church. Those who lead the church should not forget their need for spiritual support from the congregation. One’s office of leadership in the church or spiritual gift or past successful service does not make one self-sufficient for the work of the ministry. Mutual support, particularly prayer support, is vital for the success of one’s service.
Every member of the church, being joined with one another as the body of Christ, is to supply each other that which is needed. The eye cannot say unto the hand, “I have no need of thee”; nor the hand to the feet, “I have no need of you.” Mutual support, according to the ability that God has given, is vital for the efficient operation of the whole church.
The apostle desired prayer, particularly for the ministry of “the word of the Lord”. Prayer, both requested and offered to God, recognises God as the source of the progress and success of preaching. It is a great danger to attribute the success of preaching to the preacher’s talent and not to rely on God’s help, as that would ascribe to man the glory due unto God alone. Every Christian who hears the preaching of God’s Word must remember that he is in the presence of the preacher’s God rather than the preacher himself. The blessing he receives through the preaching of the Word is God-sent. So when he prays for the preacher and his preaching, he links the pulpit to the throne of God, the true fountain of all spiritual blessings.
The object of praying for the preacher is that the Word of God “may have free course, and be glorified”. Paul is here using Greek words that evoke the memory of the ancient Greek runners’ success and honour. Christians must desire and pray for great success through the faithful and fervent efforts of the preachers in turning sinners to Christ and establishing faithful churches for the edification of saints (cf. Psalm 67:1-3).