By Scott Brown
Pastor, First Baptist Church, Waverly
Focal Passage: 1 Timothy 2:1-8
Charles Spurgeon said, “No man can do me a truer kindness than to pray for me.” It is a wonderful privilege to intercede for others, standing in for them and crying out to heaven on their behalf. There are three things I’ve learned about praying for others.
First, it takes intention. I can’t leave it up to my own whims. I have to purpose to do it or I will never get it done.
Each week I purpose time to pray for my church, my brother pastors across our state, and then my neighbors. I need all the help I can get with this.
One of the best things I’ve found is a simple app called Bless Every Home.
Every morning it sends me five neighbors’ names and their addresses. It even gives me a prayer I can pray for them. In this time, it is so easy to not even know my neighbors, it helps me to pray for them more specifically and it opens doors for me to go talk to them about Jesus.
Since it gives me their addresses, I follow up every so often with a letter just to remind them someone is praying for them. It really helps me to love my community more when I am able to pray for them like this, and this is a great help.
Second, it creates opportunity. The more I spend time talking to God on behalf of people, the more likely I am to minister to them or evangelize them. You may have heard it like this, “Talk to God about your friends and then talk to your friends about God.”
Standing in the gap and interceding for them in their need crystallizes their ultimate need, a right relationship with Jesus. The more I pray for others the more likely I am to reach out and serve them and the less hesitant I am to share Jesus with them. There may be a lot of things you can’t do for others but the one thing everyone can do is pray. We need more people willing to stand in the gap and pay the price in prayer for others.
Finally, the text urges that prayers be made for everyone. Those you like and those you don’t. He desires for men to pray without anger or quarreling. An incredible lesson I’ve learned is that it is impossible to hate someone for whom I’m praying. Try it! If there is someone you can’t stand, a personal relationship, a politician, a past friend: pray for them faithfully. Stop immediately and pray God’s blessing over them.
It’s going to be hard but, over time, those prayers will start to change you. I’ve had to do this many times with people who hurt me. Every time I thought of them and wanted to rage, I forced myself to stop and pray for them. At first, my prayers were lies. I wanted God to “bless” them with sorrow and “provide” a flat tire. But I prayed good over them anyway.
Over time, my heart began to change and I was able to forgive, be free and mean those prayers of blessing. Praying for people may change their lives but it will definitely change yours B&R