PRAYING FOR ONE ANOTHER
It is a fact that Christians are to pray for one another (1 Thessalonians 1:2; 5:25). This is a blessing that draws us closer together as we approach the throne of God. It is not merely something that we might do, but something that we must do. Christians praying for one another is found throughout the New Testament.
Peter in Prison
When Peter was thrown into prison, “constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church” (Acts 12:5. Later, after he was miraculously freed from the prison, Peter went to the house of Mary, mother of John-Mark, “where many were gathered together praying” (v. 12). The fact that they did not believe Rhoda’s wonderful news that Peter was at the door (vv. 13-16) does not suggest that they did not believe that their prayers would be answered. Most likely they did not expect his release to come so soon. Our brethren may not be in prison, but they may face extreme difficulties in life caused by Satan and evil men. We need to pray for one another that God may help us overcome such trials and dangers.
Open Doors for the Gospel
Prayers are to be given for the preaching and teaching of the gospel of Christ. Open doors are needed every day in every place to reach the multitude of lost souls. Paul commanded the Colossian brethren to “continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving, meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ” (Colossians 4:2-3). Are we praying for open doors to be provided for those who go into distant countries to preach? Are we praying that open doors will be provided for us to teach those around us here?
Bold Preaching of the Truth
Those who open their mouths to preach the gospel of Christ need our prayers that they may preach the truth boldly to those who need to hear. The apostle Paul asked that prayer be given for him, “that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak” (Ephesians 6:19-20). Those who speak the truth will find themselves at times dealing with fear and trembling (1 Corinthians 2:3). Knowing that faithful brethren are praying to God for them is a wonderful comfort and motivator. We can have a great share in the work of preaching by praying for the preacher.
For Those Who are Sick
Those who are suffering in this life are admonished to pray (James 5:13). If they are sick they can call upon the elders of the church to come and pray (v. 14). We are commanded to pray for one another that we may be healed – “the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (v. 16). God does not heal miraculously in our day, but His providential hand of healing can be extended through the medical care that is available. Our prayers are for all provisions to be made to help someone overcome an affliction, if possible. There is great comfort for the sick to know that many prayers are being made for them.
For Those Who Have Sinned
When Simon the sorcerer sinned before God, Peter told him he needed to pray to God for forgiveness (Acts 8:22). Simon then asked Peter, “Pray to the Lord for me that none of the things which you have spoken may come upon me” (v. 24). We should pray for a penitent Christian who has fallen into sin. This is part of our obligation to “restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness” (Galatians 6:1). If there is any harboring of bad feelings for someone, prayer will drive them away. It is virtually impossible to pray on behalf of someone I don’t care for. I am to care for my brethren and pray for them – all of them, without showing partiality (cf. James 2:1).
Conclusion These are just a few important reasons to pray for one another. Stay informed about the needs of your brethren, and then lift up these needs in prayer to the throne of God on their behalf. You will serve them in a most wonderful way and may even provide an answer to that prayer by assisting them in their hour of need.