“Prayers for people are God’s wise way to make us more loving Jesus followers.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – January 2, 2023
My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. John 17:15-18
The beginning of a new year is a good time to remind ourselves of the privilege and power of praying for others. A privilege since we are sinners who offer imperfect prayers, yet highly effective when offered with a humble heart and delivered by the Holy Spirit, who purifies our prayers with His perfect love. And, powerful prayers since God Almighty is the one who instructs us to call on Him to claim His promises of forgiveness, wisdom, and grace. The powerful One displays the power of His glory and goodness in response to the humble prayers of His righteous followers. Prayer has a way of bringing peace to my heart, and hope to those I pray for.
Jesus, with a spirit of generous love, prays for His followers and for those who would believe in Him as Savior and Lord. His prayer is for engagement, protection, and purification. Jesus prays for you and me to engage with people by loving them like Jesus, with a spirit of generous love while pointing the world to their citizenship in heaven. He prays protection over us from the lies of the devil by giving us the truth of His Word so we are purified and can see clearly, comprehending the wisdom of God. Jesus prays for us to seize the day, and show others the way.
“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word” (John 17:6).
C.S. Lewis, the wise and respected 20th-century English academic, explains how we often become the answer to our prayers for others: “I am often, I believe, praying for others when I should be doing things for them. It’s so much easier to pray for a bore than to go and see him. And the other is like unto it. Suppose I pray that you may be given the grace to withstand your besetting sin… Well, all the work has to be done by God and you. If I pray against my own besetting sin there will be work for me.” From Letters to Malcolm
Wow! As we lift our petitions for people we love (and some, for whom we lack love), let’s listen with the attentive ears of the heart, to how God would have us give to others in answer to our own prayers. And, as Lewis stated, in the process of praying for another, we should pray for ourselves to have the grace, mercy, and forgiveness to love them well, in spite of the difficulty of our differences. We offer peace where there is conflict. We show empathy where there is unkindness. We give patience when there is an angry reaction. We offer abundant grace where sin abounds. Prayers for people are God’s wise way to make us more loving Jesus followers.
“But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Romans 5:20, KJV).
Heavenly Father, fill my prayers with love for others and wisdom in how you want me to be a part of your answered prayer, through Christ’s love and in Jesus’ name, amen.
What can I do to be the answer to the prayers I am praying for others? How do I need to change in the process to be a more loving follower of Jesus?
Matthew 6:5, 14-15; Ephesians 6:18; Colossians 1:9; James 5:15-16
The Porter’s Gate feat. Audrey Assad & Paul Zach: In the Fields of the Lord
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