The Spirit of Prayer
In 2 Corinthians, and in many other parts of the Written Word, the word "comfort" (parakaleo) is used as a prayer word. The word "comfort" is used synonymously as a prayer word because it reveals the Spirit of Prayer - it reveals the life, the depths, the vital force, the heart, the courage, the very essence of the Spirit of Intercession - it reveals the reality, the livingness, of prayer that is true intercession of the Holy Spirit that flows unto, and into, and through the inner most being of those who have chosen to endure until God has His End through His Way. It is intercession by the Comforter (The Parakletos), the Intercessor, that implores, that comforts, that consoles, that encourages, that incites, that entreats, that beseeches, that desires, that exhorts, that admonishes, that instructs: it is "the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God."
" ... The Comfort Wherewith We Ourselves Are Comforted of God ..."
When we are in any trouble, The Comforter, The Intercessor, The Strengthener, calls our spirit aside: He summons, He entreats, He implores, our spirit to move out of the bondage of our situation and into union with Him. This is The Comforter, The Intercessor, at work in our innermost being - this is the Spirit of Prayer.
Now, this does not mean that our troubles will cease, but it does mean that when our spirit responds to the Comforter and moves into union with Him, we cannot be held in bondage by our situation; and we will be able to function in the things of the Lord. And as our spirit moves into union with the Holy Spirit, the Comforter instructs us so that we will not be ignorant, will not be unaware, of the fact that, in the midst of our trouble, God is dealing with us in order to bring forth a greater reality of Christ in our lives. And we, like Paul, will be able to say in reality: "For we would not brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia (put in your location here) that we were pressed out of measure above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: but we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead." Beloved, this is "comfort", this is reality! This is the Spirit of Prayer!
"... The Comfort Wherewith We Ourselves Are Comforted of God ..."
When we are discouraged and dismayed and perplexed, when without are fightings, and within are fears, the Comforter, the Intercessor, the Counselor, exhorts and consoles us in our spirit, He encourages us in our spirit. He incites us and urges us to press on, He rouses and spurs our spirit into action. And if we respond by moving our spirit into union with Him, into union with "The Comforter," we will find this taking place in our spirit and soul:
"We are hedged in on every side - troubled and oppressed in every way; but not cramped or crushed" - this is the Spirit of Prayer.
It may be that "we suffer embarrassments and are perplexed and unable to find a way out," but our Spirit exhorted by, and in union with, the Holy Spirit will declare "but not driven to despair" - this is the Spirit of Prayer.
It may be that we are persecuted and hard driven, pursued, but our spirit strengthened by, and in union with, the Holy Spirit, firmly states "but not deserted - to stand alone" - this is the Spirit of Prayer.
It may be that "we are struck down to the ground," but our spirit roused by, and in union with the Holy Spirit triumphantly shouts "but never struck out and destroyed" - this is the Spirit of Prayer.
Beloved, this is "comfort!" This is reality! This is the Comforter at work in our innermost being!
"... The Comfort Wherewith We Ourselves Are Comforted of God..."
When we are in any trouble, in any tribulation, in any pressure, compression, affliction, distress, in any pressures from evils, the Comforter, the Intercessor, will call and summon our spirit aside and He will beseech us to move our spirit into union with His Spirit; He will instruct us by giving us an encouraging but admonitory exhortation. The Comforter will admonish us by conveying to our spirit a gentle warning of a fault, of a sin, of anything in our lives, which could cause us to miss the right way of the Lord. The Comforter will admonish us by conveying to our spirit a warning of any hindrance within or without, of any danger within or without, that could hinder or stop His free flow in and through our innermost being. And beloved, this kind of comfort, this kind of admonitory warning which comes from the Comforter, will never condemn us or cause us to justify ourselves or cause us to blame someone else for our trouble: it will only cause us to desire a greater reality of Christ in our lives.
In 2 Corinthians, behind every word of comfort and encouragement, there is a sense of exhortation, admonishment, and warning! The reason for this is that the main theme of 2 Corinthians is the preparation of the inner life by the Holy Spirit, in order that the Lord may have all the room He needs to live, and move, and have His Being, in and through the innermost being of His people. "For, as for us, we are an inner sanctuary of the living God, even as God said, I will dwell in them in fellowship with them as in a home and I will live My life in and through them. And I will be their God and they themselves will be My people" (2 Corinthians 6:16).
This is one of God's greatest promises to His people, and it is especially significant for those who have chosen to endure until the Lord gets His intended results in their lives. The reason for this is that this passage of Scripture sums up a portion of this letter to the Corinthians that conveys, from beginning to end, an admonitory warning by the Comforter to the Christians of all ages (2 Corinthians 6:1-7). If we read this passage of Scripture, we will find that this warning is given so that we will not miss what God desires for Himself and for us.
(continued with # 18)