The richest gift you can give

The gift of praying for others is one each of us can offer to others.  I count the prayers of others among my richest resources. Yesterday, as I began a full day of ministry, a friend texted me a prayer offered on my behalf. I felt the Presence of God as I read those words. Decades ago, on that May evening on which I was ordained to Christian ministry, senior pastors gathered around me, placing their hands on my shoulders, inviting God, the Holy Spirit, to prepare me for service. 

The prayers of friend and family have sustained me in trial, in sickness, when seeking guidance.  I am beyond grateful for the prayers of others.

James tells us to “confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16, NIV)  Don’t miss the heart of that instruction by understanding it too narrowly.  We are to remain open with each other, able to talk through our faults and failures. The right response to the vulnerability of another Believer is not rejection, but rather prayer which brings healing. The word James uses for healing is about wholeness  of body, soul, and spirit.

On this Monday morning, I want to encourage you to PRAY for one another. Toss the criticism. Leave behind the remarks about another’s faults or difference. The Christian church would be a wholly different place IF God’s people really prayed for one another, constantly, earnestly, fervently.  When you pray for someone, you give them an amazing gift.

You do not have to be wealthy to do this. You do not have to be a pastor or church leader, either.  God just asks you to be faithful to pray for others. Let me repeat that text – “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)

I doubt many of my sermons have a shelf life of even 7 days! Things I write to encourage other Christians quickly fade into forgottenness. But, the prayers that I pray are recorded in eternity and are actively reshaping lives. That is not intended to sound grandiose. It is the reality I know.

Make sure when you pray you are actually addressing God.  That is one of the reasons for getting alone when you engage in real prayer. There we are not tempted to polish our words, to speak to the people in the room instead of the Father. It is a natural temptation to turn public prayers into little sermons or inspirational talks; both of which miss the point of prayer entirely! Jesus said “when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:6, NIV)

You CAN pray effectively for others. Eloquence is not required. Lengthy, involved petition is not a prerequisite. You do not have to be faultless or sinless to pray! Present the need of your friend to God, asking Him to work on their behalf. Open your heart, your mouth; engage our mind and speak to the Father.  Often when I am praying for those in my pastoral care, I don’t even know what to ask 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.

You might wonder why that is necessary. Doesn’t God know what we need before we ask? He does! I do not know 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)

There are moments when you can be an incredible blessing to someone by praying with them and for them. One of the joys of my calling is to sit with a person who is broken, or sick, or overwhelmed and to speak to God on their behalf. You can do this, too. Your words might get mixed up. There may be moments when there are quiet pauses.  But, when we invite God’s Spirit to come near, together, it is like a soothing salve for the soul. Few things are capable of touching me more deeply than hearing someone talk about me, my needs, my life to the Father. It does not have to be ‘perfect’ to be good.  God will put it all in the right perspective and use our prayers to accomplish His will and purposes.

A caution is in order here. IF you are privileged to pray with someone else, do not turn it into a moment of correction or rebuke! Such ‘prayers’ are unloving and self-defeating because they stir up resentment. IF a friend needs to get something right in his life, talk with the Lord alone about that. Should you feel the need to address their ‘problem’ do it face to face, honestly, without using ‘prayer’ as a cover.

Let’s go beyond – “Lord, bless Pete, Sally, and Sam.” Let’s ask God to enrich the lives of our family, friends, and those in the world around us by praying authentic prayers on their behalf.

The word from the Word is Paul’s amazing prayer for the Ephesians. I love the hope and power that fill these words.

What a prayer to pray on behalf of others.

“Ever since I first heard of your strong faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for Christians everywhere, I have never stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you might grow in your knowledge of God.

I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the wonderful future he has promised to those he called. I want you to realize what a rich and glorious inheritance he has given to his people. I pray that you will begin to understand the incredible greatness of his power for us who believe him.” (Ephesians 1:15-19, NLT)

Can I get an 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

Published by Jerry Scott

I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I am a Dad to Jay, Sean, Christine, and Maribel. I am a Pastor at Faith Discovery Church. Jerry D. Scott

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: