A Spiritual Exercise: Action Through Prayer
Praying for others is a powerful way of putting love into action. You’re not only thinking of them and wanting to help, but you’re doing something about it. Prayer, as millions of people worldwide will attest, does change things. Prayer moves God’s hand and heart to do the things we ask. It doesn’t always happen right away, but eventually those prayers are answered in the way God knows is best for everyone involved.
Praying for others not only benefits those people, but you too. It brings a spirit of faith, a positive spirit, because you’re focusing on God’s goodness and power and expecting Him to answer. When you manifest faith by praying, it pleases God and He goes to work in the situation or in the person’s life. He loves you and the one you’re praying for, and He wants to effect positive change. Your prayers set His power in motion.
Start by writing a list of people you’re concerned about, who need God’s help. Perhaps they’re sick or have had an accident, or are lonely, or are in a financial bind, or are in danger, or have suffered loss. Include both those you know personally and those who you have heard about in the news or from others.
Say a prayer for each in turn, claiming an appropriate promise of God from the Bible (see examples below). Work your way down your list for 10 or 15 minutes daily, spending a minute or so praying for each person.
Add people to your list as their needs come to your attention. As your list grows, you probably won’t be able to pray for every person each day in the time you have allotted. Pray for the most serious and urgent situations first, and as many of the others as you have time for. Whenever you reach the bottom of your list, start again at the top.
When God answers one of your prayers, thank Him for doing so, and then drop that entry from your daily prayer list. You may want to keep a separate list of answered prayers and take a moment to review it at the beginning of your prayer time to boost your faith that He will also meet the needs still on your list.
Make praying for others a daily habit, and you will not only help make their lives better, but your faith will grow and your spiritual life will be enriched as you see God work.
…for those who need healing:
“‘I will restore health to you,’ says the Lord” (Jeremiah 30:17).
“The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up” (James 5:15).
…for those in danger:
“God is a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).
“The Lord is a stronghold in the day of trouble” (Nahum 1:7).
…for those suffering loss and hardship:
“I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you'” (Isaiah 41:13).
“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you” (John 14:27).
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