Thursday, 13 March 2014

How to pray for Christians - part 1

If you are a Christian, then you are a person of prayer. There is no such thing as a prayerless Christian. A.W. Pink says in one of his sermons,
A prayerless Christian is a contradiction in terms. Just as a still-born child is a dead one, so a professing believer who does not pray is devoid of spiritual life. Prayer is the breath of the new nature in the saint, as the Word of God is its food.
As a Christian, you are called to pray for those who are saints, i.e. those who have been set apart with you by God as His people, His children.

In Paul's letter to the Ephesians, we are told to be "praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints." (Eph. 6:18)

But how are Christians supposed to pray for other Christians?

In this same letter to the Ephesian Christians, the apostle Paul includes two prayers. Both prayers are for the Ephesian church. Both prayers are for Christians. Both prayers serve as good examples how we can pray for other Christians.

In this first blog post, we will take a look at the first prayer, found in Ephesians 1:15-23:

15 For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints,
I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers,
that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him,
having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,
and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might
that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places,
far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.
And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church,
which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

This prayer clearly is for Christians, those who have "faith in the Lord Jesus" (1:15). So what does Paul pray for them?

Paul prays that
  1. God may give them a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him (1:17)
  2. God may enlighten the eyes of their heart (1:18), so that they may know three things:
    1. God has called them to hope (1:18)
    2. God will have a glorious inheritance prepared for them (1:18)
    3. God is working his immeasurably great power in them (1:19)
This first prayer is a prayer for knowledge. This is also how we can pray for other Christians, including ourselves. All Christians desperately need to know God more and more.
  • Knowing that God has acted for us in the PAST by calling and drawing us to Himself will give us hope and assurance. We can have assurance that we are saved and belong to Him.
  • Knowing that God has prepared something wonderful for us in the FUTURE, namely a glorious inheritance of everlasting life without sin, without suffering and with Christ, will give us the right perspective in life and its trouble and pain.
  • Knowing that God is working with is immeasurably great power in us at PRESENT will help us do His will and withstand the attacks of the evil one, despite our fears and weaknesses.
So we can pray for ourselves and for other Christians to come to a greater knowledge of God and what He has done for us in the past, what He will have prepared for us in the future, and what He is doing for us in the present.

This knowledge of God is the basis for living the Christian life according to God's will.

Perhaps some of you have prayed or will pray along these lines for my wife and me. If that is the case, thank you very much for your prayers! We, too, certainly need a greater and deeper knowledge of God.

Picture: public domain

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