Oftentimes when we say, “I am praying for you” it ends at that. We know we should pray for other believers, and we have good intentions to pray for them, however, it never happens. No matter what your spouse may tell you, good intentions never help anyone.
So how do we pray for other believers? A great example of how to pray for brothers and sisters in Christ is found in the Apostle Paul. In Ephesians 1:15-16, we see the fact that Paul prayed for the believers at Ephesus, and then we see what he prayed for them in Eph. 1:17-19.
Ephesians 1:15-16, “Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers.” Paul played a part in the start of the church in Ephesus, but was run out by greedy craftsmen. After Paul received word of the Ephesians faith in the Lord, and love for other brothers and sisters in Christ he tells them that he has not stopped giving thanks for them. However, he was not just thankful for them, but also brought them, and their needs before the Lord often.
As Christians we are a part of the body of Christ, but when we pray we are often more concerned with this body of me. We can be so selfish in our prayers only concerned with what God is doing in our lives, and what we still want Him to do that we never stop to praise God for His work in others or intercede on the behalf of others.
Paul, with all the persecution and tribulations he faced realized the need for unity in regards to prayer in the body of Christ. He was thankful for their faith and love, and truly cared for the needs of that local church in Ephesus.
Many churches have prayer lists, but how often do you and I truly pray for others? How often do we stop and thank God for the faith and love of another brother and sister in Christ? I wrote on making prayer a priority, but we must also have the right focus with our prayer. How can I pray for the needs of others? How do I pray for those who do not have known physical requests?
Ephesians 1:17-19, “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power.” Paul gave thanks for the Ephesians, but prayed for them on a spiritual level. Many times when we pray for others, it is strictly for their physical needs. Although physical needs are important, even more important are their spiritual needs.
Paul prayed for the believers that God would give the Ephesian believers wisdom and understanding in their knowledge of Him. He wanted the Ephesians to understand Who God was, and what He had done for them. He wanted this knowledge of God to result in them knowing the hope of their calling. There is great hope in knowing that your born again, and one day you will be with the Lord in glory.
Paul also wanted the Ephesians to have an understanding of God so that they would know the great riches that are given to believers as an inheritance. He spends much of the first chapter expounding on those riches.
Finally, Paul wanted the Ephesians to know the GREAT power of God to those that believe in Him. He desired for the Ephesians to see God at work in their lives. Do you desire this for others? Is it your hearts desire to truly pray for others? We can all learn from Paul’s many examples of praying for others.