It is important for us to pray for others because Jesus Christ has commanded us to do so. Jesus commands that we pray, not only for our family, friends, and fellow believers, but even for our enemies (Matthew 5:44; Luke 6:28). By praying for others we are imitating Jesus Christ, who intercedes with God the Father on our behalf (Romans 8:34; John 17:9), as well as the Spirit of God who intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words (Romans 8:26).
The New Testament epistles are replete with examples of praying for others as well as calls to do so. First Timothy 2:1–4 says, "First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." Obedience to God's Word is one reason to pray for others. We also see in these verses that praying for others involves asking God for things on their behalf, interceding for them, and thanking God for them. We can pray for our leaders to live godly lives and lead in godly ways. We also pray for the salvation of others, knowing that God desires for all to be saved and to know His truth.
It is important to pray for others because by doing so we are participating with God in the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18–20). Although God is sovereign over all things, He has chosen to allow us the unspeakable privilege of being part of the outworking of His plan. He has chosen to include our prayers and our sharing of the gospel as a means to bring others to repentance and salvation in Jesus Christ (Matthew 9:37–38; 2 Thessalonians 3:1; 2 Timothy 2:24–25). As prayer warriors, we are spiritual weapons in God's mighty hand. When we pray for others, we also enjoy the privilege of rejoicing in God's work in their lives. By praying for others, we actively participate in God's plan for the world, both in our lives and in the lives of others.
Praying for our brothers and sisters in Christ is one means by which we share one another's burdens (Galatians 6:2). For fellow believers, we pray for things such as their spiritual growth, physical needs, and encouragement. Prayer is a powerful weapon in spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:18). Paul requested prayer for his work in ministry (Ephesians 6:18–20). James recommended praying when people are sick and connected it to confession of sins to one another (James 5:14–16). Praying for others indicates love for others. If we do not love, it indicates that we do not know God (1 John 3:10; 4:20–21). On the contrary, love for our brothers and sisters in Christ indicates that we have passed from spiritual death to spiritual life (1 John 3:14)—that we know God. We ought to love everyone, but there is a special love that we have for fellow believers and as such we ought to pray for them fervently (1 John 3:14; Galatians 6:10). We see this frequently among the apostles and early believers. They are always asking each other to pray for them and remembering each other in their prayers (Ephesians 1:16; 6:18–19; 1 Thessalonians 5:17; Philemon 1:4;). Why? Because they know that it is God and God alone who can strengthen them, uphold them, and cause them to rejoice even amid the sorest trials and stand against the most enticing temptations (Luke 22:32; Ephesians 3:20; Romans 16:25; 2 Peter 2:9; Matthew 6:13).
We pray—for ourselves and others—because we know it is God who holds the power. Prayer is our means of communication with God. It is the way we access His power and participate in His plans for this world. In prayer, we give God praise and seek His face that we might become more like Him. We pray for God to soften the hearts of people and draw them to salvation. We pray for Him to encourage and grow His children. Ultimately, we pray for God's will to be done in our lives and the lives of others. As the writer of Hebrews said, "Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:14–16).
Copyright 2011-2022 Got Questions Ministries - All Rights Reserved.