Pray – For or With?
Do you pray for or with others? People do need people as three-year old, Laurie understood. One night she was getting ready for bed and yelled to her mother, her need to help get undressed. Her mother replied by reminding her, ”You know how to undress yourself.” ”Yes”, she explained, ”but sometimes people need people anyway, even if they do know how to do things by themselves.” Prayer is like that too. We, believers, know that we can pray to God for our daily life and needs, but sometimes we need others to pray with us too.
Most of us are more than willing to pray for others when requested or even when we learn about someone’s needs. But how often do we stop and drop to prayer, not just for others, but with them? The opportunity arose this week for me to do just that, but I didn’t.
This week, I had a woman, who I was volunteering with, and that I don’t know very well; boldly ask me if I knew of her news. I replied, no, that I did not know of any news regarding her, and so I waited with anticipation, for her to reveal what she clearly wanted me to be privy to. As she launched into her story, I realized with dismay, this was not the ”news” I was expecting. She revealed that she had learned her husband, of over 36 years, was having an affair with a woman that she considered a friend. As I came to terms with my initial shock, I felt bad for her, as she was clearly hurting. All I could seem to muster out was, ”I am so sorry” and ”I will pray for you”.
As the week has gone on and I have reflected upon that moment, I realize that my lame, ”I will pray for you” was most likely meaningless in the face of her pain. She sought my help and although telling her that I will pray is a comfort of sorts, stopping at that moment and just immediately praying with her, gives better witness to the power and connection of prayer.
Emergency prayers and praying for others in general is necessary, but often the issue becomes what do you say when you pray for others and how long do you continue to do it? This week our focus verse and the verses following it give detailed instructions for both. The Bible clearly tells us that we are to include others in our prayers and have a believer obligation to do so, when we are aware of a person with any need. Prayer gives encouragement to all and it helps us see that through Christ, we have everything we need. The power of prayer is tremendous and it isn’t a secret, so we are to always share that knowledge with others. Step outÂ publiclyÂ with your faith and pray.
So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. Colossians 1:9a (NLT)
Stepping Out in Prayer
It isn’t always easy to step out and pray for someone else. It is an awesome witness though and the times that I have gathered up my courage and simply asked others if I can pray with them rather than just for them, it has never been turned down. In fact, in the times that I have done this very simple thing, the response is always met with such gratitude that it is almost overwhelming. Yet most of the time, I still seem to hesitate before I ask, unsure of my ability and sometimes their reaction. This week’s verse however clearly answers the questions of how to go about offering prayer for others whether you know a person or not. Confidence builds withÂ practice and instruction will lead you to boldly declare prayer to others.
As you pray, the first instruction given is to not stop. Too often, we handle emergency prayers for others and then when we feel their ”emergency” is over we stop praying for them and move to the next person with an ”emergency” prayer. Paul clearly sets the example that you just don’t stop. The specific issue may change but the prayer should not. The power of prayer comes in the consistency; otherwise it is nothing more than a wish. When you understand that you are not to stop praying it makes prayer a more serious issue or offering and less of a pat answer when you do not know how to respond to someone. There are six points Paul gives example of and you should give thought to, when praying with or for others.
You should pray that ”others””¦
- – Understand the direction and gain the spiritual insight that God is leading them through with His will.
- – Always honor and please God, creating good things as they move forward.
- – Learn to know God more and more each and every day.
- – Are given strength with the power of Christ so they have the extra endurance and patience they need.
- – Find and know joy in all circumstances.
- – Always give thanks to God that they have Christ.
Praying for others should be a habit you readily give into. Robert E. Lee said, ”Let prayer be our practice.” And so you should practice with prayer and be challenged to pray for others openly with conviction. Scripture instructs you on the particulars of how and what to pray about, it is up to you to carry it through.
Love in Christ,
Connect deeply with others. Our humanity is the one thing that we all have in common.
Credits Three-year old - Adapted from William C. Schultz,Â Bits and Pieces, December 1990.
What are your thoughts? Join Us in Discussion
Do you pray for others or with others? Do you hesitate to step out in a bold declaration and offer to pray with someone? Are you at loss on how to pray for others? Join us in discussion on how to pray with and for others.