Tag Archives: Praying for Others

Discipleship Through Prayer

imagesBy God’s grace, we are working to create a culture of discipleship at Calvary Bible Church.  We believe discipleship is something that takes place not just within the formal programs and ministries of the church, but also informally, as people eat together in homes, talk over coffee, serve alongside each other, and work to meet each other’s needs.

One of the ways we encourage this is by exhorting the body to pray for each other with each other, so that prayers are being prayed for people while the one praying is standing right next to them.  How is this part of the discipleship process?  There are a few different reasons why we do this.  First, we believe that God answers prayers, and second, we know how easy it is to tell someone you’ll pray for them and then forget.  But I think there is another element to this that is particularly important to discipleship.  When you hear another person pray you are getting a glimpse into their relationship with God and this can be instructive, moving, convicting, encouraging, and downright inspiring.

I learned how to pray by hearing others pray, and in fact, I’m still learning how to pray by hearing others pray.  Perhaps, more than any other experience I have with Christians, hearing them pray draws me nearer to God.  Why?  I think it’s because a person’s prayers gives flesh bones and to their theology.  I hear what they truly believe; what promises they’re clinging to, what attributes of God they are banking on, and what facets of the gospel they are cherishing.  When I hear a person pray I understand more how doctrine should translate into my communion with God.

Isn’t this what see in the Psalms over and over again?  God lets us gaze into the heart of a man as he stands with sure footing on his theology to praise and plead with his God, as with David in Psalm 4:1:

Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
    You have given me relief when I was in distress.
    Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!

O Church, you may think that you have no significant ministry to other believers because you do not serve formally in a ministry program. Or you may think that the most significant things you do in ministry are the things you do that have an official title attached to them.  Please do not neglect to pray for people out loud in their presence as a means of discipleship.  It is more valuable than you think.

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Does Praying for Others Tempt You Toward Pride?

images (48)Yesterday I wrote about words that we need to replace in our vocabulary.  Today I want to talk about some words we should use habitually to help promote humility in ourselves.

We are told in God’s Word that sin is deceitful (Hebrews 3:13) and we are also told that our hearts are deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9), and on top of that, Jesus said that the devil is “the father of lies” (John 8:44).  So, it should not be surprising to us that we can take some of the most holy practices and use them to serve ourselves instead of our Lord.  With prayer, for instance, we can very simply, yet subtly, turn it into a scheme for enlarging our self-esteem.

Think with me, we most often pray for people when they have needs.  They’re either struggling with sin or going through some trial, and though it may sound sickening, our hearts can see this as a prime opportunity to nurture thoughts like, “At least my sin hasn’t reached that level” or “That’s what happens when you don’t take God’s Word seriously (implication: “Like I do”).

This is why when we pray for someone’s repentance or growth or endurance in the midst of a trial, I think it is wise to insert five little words to help us keep a proper perspective: as you have with me.

Whether it is a sin that person has fallen into or trials that they need to persevere through, God has done the same thing for you that you are asking him to do for that person.  God has graciously granted you repentance and brought you through many trials, so how can you measure yourself against that person in your mind and see yourself towering over them?  No doubt, there were people praying the same prayers for you when you were in similar circumstances and God answered with the same help you are asking for in their lives.  Therefore, pray, “Lord do this for them… as you have with me.”


A Simple Practice to Inspire Others-Minded Prayer

Perhaps you’ve read what Samuel said to the people of Israel in 1 Samuel 12:23: “… far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you.”  What’s the obvious principle here?  That we sin when we neglect to pray for others.  This truth has been brought to my mind on many occasions to lead me to extend my prayers beyond myself.  But for me, praying for others can often seem forced, routine, and empty.

For example, our church sends out prayer requests given by the congregation through email twice a week.  At times, as I read over the prayer needs in those emails my heart lacks the urgency and compassion it needs for my prayers to be more than tossing up words into the wind.

Yesterday, the Lord opened my eyes to a practice that can go along way in inspiring God-honoring, others-focused prayer.  Myself and two other elders  met with a lady who is pursuing membership at our church in order to hear her testimony and ask her some questions about her relationship with Christ.  Although I knew of this women and had seen her at church, I had only just said “hello” to her.  People had told me about her, but I had never taken the time to get to know her personally.

As we sat on her couch listening to her story of conversion and the specific ways that Christ had transformed her life, something was happening in my heart: I began to feel appreciation for having her as my sister in Christ, I began to feel sympathy for her as she spoke of the trials in her life, and I began to feel compelled to pray for her.

So what is the grand epiphany that I had that empowers prayer for others?  It may seem obvious, but it’s simply the reality that prayer for other people flows more easily out of a heart that knows those people on a personal level.  This woman is no longer just a name I’ve heard or a face in the crowd.  We talked with her, fellowshipped with her, and praised God with her, and now I have been inspired to pray for her.

So Church, if you want to help cultivate a prayer life that extends beyond your needs to those of others, get to know more people on a more personal level.  Pursue them so that you will pray for them.

 

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