Why Pray for One Another?
"As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to pray for you." (1 Samuel 12:23a, NIV2)
We live in a world of indifference. Our civilization is geared towards producing, and the more we produce, the better it is for us. But all of this comes with an immense cost: there is no more rest to be found! Our to-do lists grow instead of shrinking, our responsibilities increase exponentially. We really have no more time for one another. We have become a society where we find ourselves alienated from one another.
One can only ask oneself: Where is love? A theme that often comes up in popular songs. After all, that very question gnaws every conscience!
Marriages crumble left and right, children rebel against their parents, the elderly are abandoned. Indifference has become our kingdom! It's no wonder that a country such a China has created a new law. The elderly now have the right to sue their own children for neglecting to visit them! Imagine that! Parents suing their own children! We truly have no more time for one another!
The Bible foresaw this 2000 years ago: "Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold," (Matthew 24:12, NIV2)
Is it any wonder that we don't even have time to pray for one another? Oh, sometimes we give a quick prayer on the go, yet the Apostle Paul warned us: "If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing." (1 Corinthians 13:2, NIV2)
The myriads of things we are undertaking are worthless if they are not rooted in genuine and unselfish love. Our to-do lists are way less important than loving one another like Jesus does: "Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another." (John 13:34b, NIV2)
Isn't there a better way to show that kind of love? What about at least praying for one another? Isn't love supposed to be our directive in life?
The benefits by doing so are better than any health insurance!
"And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." (James 5:15-16, NIV2)
Prayer stands for power from above. If done in faith, it can move mountains, such as disease, unforgiveness and lack of energy! How often haven't I experienced all of these through prayer! Just last winter I experienced speedy healing through prayer. Where most of my colleagues were sick for days on end, I was healed in a fraction of the time. Why? I had people praying for me. The same is true when I feel I have exhausted all of my energy. Only One can fill me with adrenaline that will last for weeks on end!
"If you see any brother or sister commit a sin that does not lead to death, you should pray and God will give them life." (1 John 5:16a, NIV2) Instead of condemning those who err, we are urged to pray for them and love them. There is only One Who can bring them life!
"With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith." (2 Thessalonians 1:11, NIV2) Praying is literally tapping into God's power, which is way more immense than all the nuclear bombs of this world combined! Praying for one another shows the world that we do, indeed, care for one another.
I still remember a colleague approaching me with a huge problem. I sure couldn't solve her dilemma, but I could pray for her. So I asked her: "Would you mind that I pray for you now?" She wasn't a believer. Her eyes opened wide in astonishment and she answered: "You would not mind?" It touched her right in the innermost part of her being. Where doors are firmly shut to the gospel, prayer is indeed the answer. No one in trouble will ever refuse a prayer, unless they have had a bitter experience with lukewarm believers, that is.
There is power in prayer, prayer to heal, power to forgive (My cousin who was estranged from me for years on end and who literally despised me, reconciled with me after many people started praying for her), power to bring hope and life, power to help us produce fruit to the glory of God.
If prayer is that powerful we can be assured that the evil one will do anything to discourage those who fight the good cause through prayer. He will use everything under his means: adversity, trials, loss of job, discordance, sickness . . . with the sole purpose of discouraging us!
This is why the apostle Paul encourages us: "Don't quit in hard times; pray all the harder." (Romans 12:12b, MSG)
Sadly, when we give into discouragement and stop praying for one another, we are setting ourselves up to the very things we used to pursue: indifference, discouragement, hopeless . . . even sin!
This is why it is so important to remember what Samuel cried out with all of his heart: "As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to pray for you." (1 Samuel 12:23a, NIV2)
Let's remember that our message is not a message of despair, it's a message of life, power and deliverance. As long as we let ourselves be discouraged we are defeated, to the delight of the evil one. Far be it that I will let him reign in my life! I will follow the example of my Saviour and pray incessantly. We are victorious with Jesus as our banner! He is the One who gives us boldness and helps us move mountains.
Now we need to ask ourselves: Do we have time to pray for one another, to bring life and hope, not only to others but to ourselves as well?
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