The Power of Praying for Others
One of the kindest, least selfish, most effective things you will ever do as an ambassador of Christ, is to pray quietly and consistently for those you meet. We often find it difficult to talk to others about Jesus, but anyone can talk to Jesus about others, and it’s always a powerful, priestly thing to do.
When my son was quite young I gave him my mobile phone number before a trip I was taking to America. ‘You can call me any time,’ I told him earnestly, and he did. He had no idea about time zones, and I would receive calls at the strangest hours to talk about the most ridiculous things. I would have to duck out of important meetings to take his call, pretending that I was discussing Important Matters of Grave Concern, when in fact I was being briefed about an episode of Teletubbies or a calamitous incident with a ‘wee’ that had missed the toilet.
I took Danny’s calls because I love him. He had direct access, not just to my phone but to my heart because he is my son. In Christ we have direct access to the Father. He invites us to talk with him, and to pray to him on behalf of those who do not yet know his number.
You are called to intercede for certain people regularly because they are colleagues, friends, neighbours and family members. Jesus tells us explicitly to persevere in such prayer. The great preacher D.L. Moody compiled a list of 100 people and would pray for them daily, only crossing a name off the list once they’d become a Christian. By the time of Moody’s funeral, no fewer than 96 of those people had become followers of Jesus. The remaining four were saved at his funeral. This is the power of persevering prayer for others.
There are other people you may just pray for once: the woman looking so weary at the checkout, the child at the school gate, the paramedic rushing to an accident, the bereaved father on the news. There is great power in short, spontaneous, ‘real-time’ prayers.
Again and again over fifteen years of the 24-7 movement, we’ve found that people who don’t want to preached at still want to be prayed for. Surveys show that most people believe in the power of prayer – way more than go to church. So it’s well worth asking how you can pray ‘for’ them and, if they respond positively, offering to pray ‘with’ them, right then and there.
Pete is the bewildered co-founder of 24-7Prayer, Senior Pastor of Emmaus Rd, Guildford and a Vice-President of Tearfund.
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