Posted by: Jo | August 7, 2015

How To Pray For Others

“Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.”

(Jeremiah 29:12)

  imageWe were watching, yet again, a tragedy unfold on the evening news and the person relaying the details finished his explanation with these words:

Our thoughts and prayers are with the friends and families

As I listened to this all too familiar phrase I wondered how meaningful it was and did it make the speaker feel better or did it comfort the bereaved at all, but perhaps just knowing someone cared was a small consolation to them, and then I pondered did the speaker actually stop and do what he had promised, Pray?

We as believers may have also slipped into uttering an also familiar phrase We will pray for you but do we follow through and devote time to do exactly that? Our topic for our sermon on Sunday was, “Understanding Mental Health And Spiritual Well Being”, and our speaker made us aware that mental health should not be a shameful or secret topic within our church family and we all could exercise our powerful privilege of being able to access the ear of the Heavenly Father through prayer, but how do we do that effectively and in so doing help people?

I have learnt through my spiritual journey that we can help people much more by offering to pray “with them” rather than “for them”. Allowing those in need to hear the prayers and coming before the Lord together is very powerful.image

When Paul was praying for others he wrote to tell them his prayers and urged new believers to pray for one another. His prayers are wonderful examples for us to follow.

Firstly: he always began with a thanksgiving for the people and thus affirming them as worthwhile children of God. (So important for those struggling with self-worth)

“For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.” (Ephesians 1:15 – 16)

Secondly: in his prayers he reminds them of the gifts given to all who love the Lord, again giving them something solid to hang on to amidst chaotic thoughts that make one uncertain.

“Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed.” (1 Corinthians 1:7)

imageThirdly: Paul prays for wisdom and revelation about who Jesus is. A firm rock to stabilise one’s life.

“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation that you may know him better.” (Ephesians 1:17)

Fourthly: he restores hope for those who so desperately need it.

“I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of the glorious inheritance of the saints…” (Ephesians 1:18)

Fifthly: he asks for discernment for the best solution to any problem

“And this is my prayer; that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ.” (Philippians 1:9 – 10)

Lastly: he prays for strength for those for whom he is praying.

“…being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father…” (Colossians 1:11 – 12)

imageWhat an incredible example for us to follow when we pray with others for them and what amazing blessings are poured out on both of us when we seek the Lord together.

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Responses

  1. Dear Jo – you have caused me to ponder exactly what “remembering someone in my prayers” means. I agree that it seems more than just “praying for them”. Does it mean that, as we pray, they are present to us and we join with them, sharing their sorrows and their joys? We approach God as members of the same family. Perhaps that is what the “membering” in remembering can mean to us! As you say, standing with them. Thank you, Jo.

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  2. Timely again Jo. However, I believe it when people say that their thoughts and prayers are with them because I know your prayers and thoughts are with my brother and family at present and so far so good. Love , Mary.

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