What to pray for one another

Sunday Leftovers

In one of the shortest verses of the Bible, believers are instructed to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17).  The believer is not only to pray regularly and habitually, but prayer is to constantly be at the forefront of his mind.  He is to be always ready for communication with His Lord and Master.

And Paul models that readiness when he says to the Romans, “…unceasingly I make mention of you, always in my prayers making request…” (Rom. 1:9b-10a).  Paul informs his readers that he is regularly remembering them, and he not only remembers them by name, but he remembers them by praying for them, making requests and interceding for them at God’s gracious throne.

This is not only the life of the apostle, but this is the life of every believer.  This is how every Christian should conduct himself.  Praying for others is not the work of super-Christians or the specially gifted alone.  It is the work of every member of the body of Christ.  We work in the church body, in part, by praying for one another.

Yet when we pray for one another, we may also find ourselves at times repeating the same prayers by rote and without thought.  So how do we cultivate vital and meaningful prayers for others?  Here are two suggestions:

1.  Ask others how you can pray for them.  Ask them what their needs are, what their joys are, and for what they are thankful.  Take notes and put those notes into a prayer journal.  And then pray with that person before you leave him.

2.  Pray the prayers of Scripture for others.  You may not be aware of some people’s individual needs (as Paul certainly wasn’t when he was writing to Rome from Corinth).  Yet you can use the requests that the Scripture writers make for others to form the basis of your own prayers.

Some time ago, I read through Paul’s letters and made note of many of his prayers to use as a stimulant for my prayers for others.  Here is that list:

  • Romans 1:8-12
  • Romans 10:1
  • Romans 15:5-6
  • Romans 15:13
  • 1 Corinthians 1:4-9
  • 1 Corinthians 16:23
  • 2 Corinthians 1:3-7
  • 2 Corinthians 2:14-16
  • 2 Corinthians 12:7-9
  • Galatians 6:18
  • Ephesians 1:15-23
  • Ephesians 3:14-21
  • Ephesians 6:19-20
  • Philippians 1:3-6
  • Philippians 1:9-11
  • Philippians 4:23
  • Colossians 1:9-14
  • Colossians 4:2-4
  • 1 Thessalonians 1:2-4
  • 1 Thessalonians 2:13-16
  • 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24, 28
  • 2 Thessalonians 1:3-12
  • 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
  • 2 Thessalonians 3:2-5
  • 2 Thessalonians 3:16
  • 1 Timothy 1:12
  • 1 Timothy 2:1-4
  • 2 Timothy 1:3-7
  • 2 Timothy 1:16-18
  • 2 Timothy 4:22
  • Titus 3:15
  • Philemon 4-7
  • Philemon 25

And that is a list only from Paul’s letters!  Many other prayers also exist in Scripture, that inform us how we can pray for others.  But more than just accumulating prayers for others, let us actually do the hard work of praying for each other.

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