I was humbled recently when a young woman I’ve never met told me via email she was praying for me. She said, “I am praying you will achieve success, as God defines success for you.”
What a gracious act, and what a wonderful prayer! This woman’s words have impacted the way I’ve prayed since then.
Like most people, I pray primarily for the people and situations most important to me. The requests change a bit over time, but not much.
I pray often throughout the day, but my prayers are repetitious: Keep my family and friends safe and healthy. Help me drive safely so I won’t hurt anyone. Bless so-and-so with victory over this-or-that struggle.
I know the power of prayer does not depend upon my ability to do it right. The power rests with the One who is listening. But I want to avoid being selfish in my requests. I want to move past the God bless mommy and daddy and me prayer of children.
For whom and for what are we to pray?
In Matthew 5:44 we are instructed to pray for those who spitefully use us and persecute us. Jesus, in Matthew 6, tells us to ask prayerfully for our daily needs, for forgiveness, and for deliverance from the evil one.
In 1 Timothy 2:1-2 the Apostle Paul wrote, “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority.”
In James 5:16 we are told to “pray for one another.” It was this command that my online friend obeyed when she prayed for me, her Christian sister.
I will pray for my loved ones whether I am commanded to do so or not, but I need some urging to pray for those who spitefully use me and persecute me. Asking God for forgiveness, for daily provisions, and for deliverance from Satan also comes naturally, but I need the prompting of the Scriptures to remind me to pray for world leaders, whether or not I consider them to be good leaders.
I seldom contemplate who might be praying for me. I do know, though, since my friend told me she is praying for me, I have begun praying for her. And because I am now praying for her, I remember to pray for other people outside my immediate circle of family members and friends.
Consider letting people know when you are praying for them. They will be humbled by that knowledge and, if they are praying people, they will likely respond by praying for you.
There is nothing more important we can do for people, no greater kindness or blessing we can offer, than the gift of praying for them. It is an extra special gift when you let them know you are doing so.