Pray For One Another
The Lord Jesus is the manifestation of God’s love for us (John 3.16), and he taught us to love one another in the same way. One of the ways in which we can manifest that love is through prayer, as James says, “Confess faults to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous one avails much” (James 5.16). In this context, he speaks of prayer for those who are sick and for sinners, but there are many more reasons to pray for others.
There are two ways in this practice. Firstly we must consider our brothers in prayer (1 Thessalonians 1.2). Secondly, we must request the prayer of the brothers for us (2 Thessalonians 3.1). There will always be times for the church’s fervent prayer for a saint in distress, as occurred in the primitive church: “Then, indeed, Peter was kept in prison. But earnest prayer was made to God for him by the church” (Acts 12.5). There is also a need when someone has fallen into sin and is seeking restoration (1 John 5.16). When we agree to pray for the need of a brother (Matthew 18.19), we have the assurance that God will listen and respond if we ask according to his will (1 John 5.14).
Different situations demand different types of prayer: “First of all, then, I exhort that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men” (1 Timothy 2.1). We must not only turn to God to make requests for others; we must also rejoice with those who find a blessing and give thanks to God for it.
As in everything, the best example of prayer for others was left to us by the Lord Jesus Christ. He prayed for those he was going to leave: “And now I am in the world no longer, but these are in the world, and I come to you, Holy Father. Keep them in your name, those whom you have given me, so that they may be one as we are” (John 17.11). He prayed for a specific situation that Simon Peter had to face (Luke 22.31-32).
Prayer is a very powerful tool, and although we must pray for our personal affairs, we must not forget about others, especially in these times, when many of our brothers are suffering because of illness. This evidences a true love like that of Christ.