The Gift of Prayer
When the holiday season approaches, many people may start thinking about the gifts they need to buy for others. We will spend a lot of time browsing the internet or strolling the store aisles in search of the ideal present. While I enjoy receiving physical presents, we can provide excellent gifts any time of the year without spending any money. It reminds me of Timothy's and the Apostle Paul's troubled time in Asia. Their capacity was so overextended that they did not believe they could survive, but this occurred so that God would be relied upon, not their resources. As Paul continues to speak to the Corinthian Church, he tells them;
Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf.2 Corinthians 1:11
He understood the importance of praying for one another. Paul was not lacking in prayer and understood the value of working together in our requests to God.
There have been numerous occasions in my life when I have failed to pray for people. During difficult times in my life, my demands appear to take precedence over everyone else's. But the importance of balancing prayer for my own and others' needs is now evident.
I do not doubt that God supplied many of my needs because someone prayed for and with me. Knowing they are concerned about my life issues and needs brings me closer to them. My challenges no longer seem so overwhelming when I am joined in prayer, and I also experience the same when praying for others.
Three Reasons to Pray for Others
1. Encourages love. It frees us from a selfish mindset. We are just concerned with our desires and requirements. Can I truly love you if I don't care about you? Bearing one another's burdens is a show of love because it fulfills the law of Christ. And one way to participate is to pray for others. We are to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. Jesus instructs us to pray not just for the people we love and who love us, but also for those who disturb us. In this sense, we imitate Christ by loving and caring for everyone, not only our loved ones. We are called to a ministry of reconciliation, in which we implore others to be reconciled to God and pray for their salvation.
2 Corinthians 5:18, 2 Timothy 2:2, Galatians 6:1 Matthew 5:44
2. Striving together. Praying for others knits us together as a community. It allows us to share in one other's concerns and to grow together in accomplishing God's Will. When we band together for a common goal. We share in the hope of God. In our walk with God, we are not alone. We are Christ's body, and we should mourn together, celebrate together, and endure together.
Philippians 1:27, 1 Corinthians 12:30, Romans 15:30
3. Because it yields results. The Apostle Paul asked his readers to pray for him numerous times in his letters. He recognized the power of believers praying united. I find it intriguing in Ephesians 6 where it describes putting on all of God's armor and how immediately following those verses it advises us to pray. Not only should we pray for ourselves, but also for other saints. It is an excellent instrument for strengthening the body of Christ. It is here that we must rely on God's power and grace. We know He is the only source of power, and we are able to aid others because of His Spirit.
James 5:16-18, Philippians 1:19, and Colossians 4:3-4.
1 Timothy 2:1 (NLT) I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them.
Many of our family and friends may never ask for our prayers, but we can still give the gift of prayer because our concern and love for them compels us to do so. Because we are aware that our Lord Jesus Christ came to this earth to save it and gave us his gift of eternal life, we give the gift of prayer to those we have not yet met.