By Joseph Ametepe
When we carefully observe the prayers in the New Testament, it quickly becomes clear that much prayer was offered for believers.When the church in Jerusalem heard that Peter was imprisoned, they gathered and earnestly prayed for him (Acts 12:1-12). The Lord Jesus Himself earnestly prayed for His disciples and those who would believe in Him through their message (John 17).
In Apostle Paul, we see a man who labored fervently in prayer for the believers in the churches that he established through the help of the Holy Spirit. He recorded his prayers for the churches at Ephesus in Ephesians 1:16-23; 3:14-21, at Philippi in Philippians 1:3-11, at Colossae in Colossians 1:9-12, and at Thessalonica in 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12; 2:16-17; 3:5,16.
We should remember that God has His own goals for believers which most often differ widely from ours. Therefore we need to learn from His Word what those goals are. How do we pray effectively for other believers and know for sure that it will make an impact on their lives spiritually? The prayers we will be looking at provide an answer which is inspired by the Holy Spirit.
- Learning to pray for other believers from the prayers of Christ.
From John 17 we learn that we should pray:
- That they may know the only true God and Jesus Christ.
- That they may be protected by the power of the Father's name.
- That they may not be taken out of the world but that they may be protected from the evil one.
- That they may be sanctified by the truth and sent into the world.
- That all believers may be one that the world may believe that the Father has sent the Son.That they may be brought to complete unity to let the world know that the Father has sent the Son and loves them even as He loves the Son.
- Learning to pray for other believers from the prayers of Paul.
From Ephesians 1:16-19 we learn that we should pray:Giving thanks to God for the work He is doing in believers.
- That they may be given a spirit of wisdom and revelation to know God better.
- That the eyes of their heart may be enlightened with the result:That they will know the hope of His calling.
- That they will know what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.
- That they will know the surpassing greatness of His power toward them.
- The summary of these requests is that believers may realize their unlimited resources in the Lord Jesus Christ.
- From Ephesians 3:14-19 we learn that we should pray:
- That God will grant them according to the riches of His glory that they may be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man with the result:That Christ may dwell in their hearts through faith.
- That they may be able to comprehend the greatness of the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge.
- That they may be filled up to all the fullness of God.
- From Philippians 1:9-11we learn that we should pray:
- That their love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment with the result:That they may approve all things that are excellent.
- That they may be sincere and blameless.
- That they may be filled with the fruit of righteousness.
- From Colossians 1:9-12 we learn that we should pray:
- That they may be filled with the real knowledge of God's will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding with the result:That they may walk worthy of the Lord, pleasing Him in all respects.
- That they will be fruitful in every good work.That they will increase in the real knowledge of God.
- That they will be strengthened with power according to His might.
- That they will live a life of continual thanksgiving to God.
- From 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 we learn that we should pray:
- That God may count them worthy of His calling.
- That by God's power He may fulfill every good purpose of theirs and every act prompted by their faith with the result:That the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in them, and they in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
- From 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 we learn that we should pray:
- That our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage their hearts.
- That our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father also strengthen them in every good deed and word.
- That the Lord may direct their hearts into God's love and Christ's perseverance.
- That the Lord of peace Himself may give them peace at all times and in every way.
- These lists show us how much we have to learn concerning what we are to pray for our believing brothers and sisters in Christ.
Our perspective is distorted and must be changed so that we may see as God sees. As we are led by the Spirit to pray in this way for other believers, we can be confident that: God has already committed Himself to answering these prayers for believers. It is His will that we realize the unlimited resources we have in Christ. He will therefore respond to our cry for the eyes of our hearts to be enlightened to know the riches we have in Him. For many believers, these lists of requests seem only spiritual but not practical. Let us not be deceived, these requests are not only spiritual, but also are intensely practical and are meant to be answered by God in order to make believers all that He wants them to be.
Intercessory prayer for the believer must be directed to that which is the revealed will of God. God has disclosed that in the prayers which have been preserved for us in His Word. If we are to become all that God wants us to be, then, these are the requests we are to be passionately asking God to work out in our lives and in the lives of other believers.