“Intercession is the truly universal work for the Christian. No place is closed to intercessory prayer: no continent, no nation, no city, no organization, no office. No power on earth can keep intercession out.” Richard Halverson
We started doing something new at the ministry I attend. Each week we are drawing a name out of a bowl. The name is of a person that for the next 7 days we will pray for, until we meet again the following week to draw another name.
Cool idea, right?!
Often times we have a hard time knowing how to pray or how to pray for ourselves. Yet, I have noticed that I can often lift someone else up in prayer "easier" than I can myself. Praying for others is not only a blessing for us to do, but it is also a vital part of living the Christian life. We are encouraged to carry one another’s burdens. One way we can do this is by praying for one another. A prayer that is on behalf of someone else is called intercessory prayer. Praying for others strengthens our unity as the Body of Christ, and it also strengthens our relationship with the Lord.
Why Should We Pray for Others?
For starters, praying for others kills our selfish, self-centered nature. It helps us take our mind off ourselves. However, one of the biggest reasons we pray for one another is that we are commanded to bear one another’s burdens.
The best visual I can give for what it means to bear one another's burden is this imagery. Imagine someone carrying 2-3 large sacks of laundry. They are trying to get it home to their family, but struggling to do so. They are about to crumble under the weight of these sakes. Someone sees them in distress and runs to their aid to help them "lighten the load" and make it to their destination.
The word burden here means “a weight of personal and eternal significance.” It can refer to a character flaw, a struggle, or a moral requirement. We will all reach a point where we stagger and fall – and we need one another. We are there for when our brother or sister staggers and falls. We help carry the weight of their troubles. We can do this in part by taking them in prayer before the Lord and to the throne of grace. We pray for others for their comfort, for salvation, for healing, for safety – for any number of reasons.
Although, we can't take personal responsibility for anyone else's decisions or behavior, we can, however, bear other burdens; we can come alongside a struggling brother or sister and help shoulder the weight of a trial or temptation that threatens to pull him under. We can pray that someone comes to know God, for their strength through difficult times, for the deep desires and longing’s of their heart, or that God will allow their lost dog to return home – we can pray for any reason at all.
How Should We Pray for Others?
We are instructed to pray without ceasing and pray prayers of thanksgiving in all situations for our own lives. This also applies to how we are to pray for others. We are not commanded to pray mindless repetitions, nor are we told that only superbly eloquent prayers are heard. You do not need to be able to quote tons of scriptures, but it is powerful when we pray the Word because it is God’s will. Additionally, it is important that when we pray, we should pray earnestly, wholeheartedly, and specifically.
What Is the Importance of Interceding?
One of the benefits from praying is experiencing the peace of God. When we pray, God will work in our hearts. He conforms us to His will and fills us with His peace. When we pray for others, we ask the Holy Spirit to help us intercede on their behalf. We may not necessarily know what other people are going through, but the Spirit of God does. As we seek Him on their behalf, it builds our faith and compassion. There is something beautiful that happens to us when we see someone’s life being transformed by God and our prayer petitions for them being answered.
The motive and posture for praying for others should always be because we love them as brothers and sisters in Christ and want them to know and experience God more deeply in their lives. We cannot change anyone, but we can pray for God’s will in their life.
Use these prayer points to cover your spouse, kids, family, friends, coworkers, whomever God lays on your heart!
Until next time,