I’ll pray for you

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You can give others an amazing gift. You do not have to be wealthy, young, old, male, female … just faithful! Yes, you can pray for others. The Bible tells us to “… pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with.” (James 5:16, The Message)

Too many times in my life to count, others have prayed for me. One of those prayers comes to mind today, the evening I was ordained to Christian ministry. Other pastors gathered around me in May, 1980 and placed their hands on my shoulders, inviting God, the Holy Spirit, to rest on me, to prepare me for service.  The prayers of friend and family have sustained me in trial, in sickness, when seeking guidance.

I’m certain that when I have passed on to Heaven, most of my sermonizing will be forgotten, my writing will fade into oblivion. But, I hope that people will remember the prayers I offered for them.  I have no idea how many people I have prayed for in my lifetime, but it has to be thousands! I can only hope that my prayers are as comforting to them as the prayers offered on my behalf are to me.

Prayer is more than emotionally therapeutic. It is powerful!  Do you pray for others?  Perhaps you find that a bit difficult?  We simply present the need of our friend to God, asking Him directly on their behalf. Eloquence is not required. Lengthy, involved petition is not a prerequisite.  We just open our heart, our mouth, engage our mind and speak to the Father.  Sometimes when I pray for those in my pastoral care, I don’t even know what to ask God for on their behalf. The situation may be complicated, the details of their dilemma unknown to me, yet I can pray for them because God knows their need, so I ask Him to love them, keep them, steady them, entrusting that person to Him.

“But, Jerry, what does that gain? Doesn’t He already know the need?”  He does! I cannot explain all the reasons that an All-knowing, All-powerful Purposeful God wants us to pray, but clearly He does. The Bible make that abundantly clear. “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7, NLT)

Our personal prayer should include times of active listening, being attentive to the Presence, so that He is able to direct us.  And, the Word urges us to ask boldly, ask faithfully, and trust Him radically. Know this! Faith is important, a God-focused faith. Faith is not being convinced that God will do exactly what we ask Him to do. True faith is a sure hope that He will act in our best interest, an attitude of child-like trust. He doesn’t answer prayers because we’re good enough, loud enough, or even earnest. No good Dad gives his son everything he asks for because his wisdom knows that not all things that son desires are the best. Our Father does what is best for us.

There is this, too.  When we pray for one another, let’s not just do it from a distance, let’s learn to do that in person. Praying, even if the words get fumbled, even when there are quiet pauses, is like a soothing salve for the soul. Few things will evoke deep tears, not the sad kind, but the “I’m moved to the center of my being” kind, more than hearing someone talk about me, my needs, my life to the Father.  God will put it all in the right perspective and use our prayers to accomplish His will and purposes.

When we pray for each other, we must go beyond – “Lord, bless Pete, Sally, and Sam.” Let’s get specific, praying for financial provision, for specific guidance, for restoration of love in marriages, for victory over sin, for spiritual growth, … the stuff of real life! By the way, remember this – prayers for others must never be used as sermons! Don’t try to fix somebody or advise them while you are supposedly talking to the Lord. I experienced a few of those ‘prayers’ and honestly, I resented them.

Let me pray for you now borrowing Paul’s amazing prayer for the Ephesians, a prayer that is one of my favorite passages in the Word.
“When I heard of the solid trust you have in the Master Jesus
and your outpouring of love to all the followers of Jesus,
I couldn’t stop thanking God for you—
every time I prayed, I’d think of you and give thanks.
But I do more than thank.

I ask—ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory—
to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally,
your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do,
grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for his followers,
oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him—endless energy, boundless strength!” (Ephesians 1:15-19, The Message)

To the praise and honor of our wonderful Lord. Amen!
___________

The Prayers Of The Saints
(Matt Redman invites us to worshipful prayer)

Are the prayers of the saints
Like sweet smelling incense
Are the prayers of the saints
Like sweet smelling incense to Your heart
To Your heart

 Let these prayers of the saints
Be sweet smelling incense
Let these prayers of the saints
Be sweet smelling incense to Your heart

 Are the songs of the saints
Like sweet smelling incense
Are the songs of the saints
Like sweet smelling incense to Your heart
To Your heart

 Let these songs of the saints
Be sweet smelling incense
Let these songs of the saints
Be sweet smelling incense to Your heart

Matt Redman © 1998 Thankyou Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

CCLI License # 810055

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