“Rejoice always, pray continually.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16
My white wicker desk has a glass overlay on top of it, under the overlay are pictures, scriptures and quotes that are near and dear to my heart. This morning, as I was getting ready to write today’s devotional, a bright, pink block caught my eye. At the top of it I have handwritten, “HOW TO PRAY FOR PEOPLE.” I’ve spent the month thanking God for the people He has given me, I thought it would be worth the time to share how I pray for them.
The scripture I model my prayers after is Philippians 1:9-11 NIV:
“And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.”
From these verses are four principles we can use to pray for people. First we can pray they grow in love, “this is my prayer, that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight.” Second, we can pray they make wise choices, “so that you may be able to discern what is best.” Then we pray that they will live with integrity, “and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ.” Lastly, we can pray they will become like Jesus, “filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ-to the glory and praise of God.” That is my model for praying for people, I have no idea where I found it, or who penned it first. This block has been on my desk for many years, I try to use it often.
I did learn one lesson from my dear Cody, sometimes it’s best to pray it, than say it. I dropped Cody off at school one morning, as he was getting out of the car, I randomly said, “Make good choices today.” Well, he didn’t, nothing major, but he got in a little trouble at school that day. He told me in the afternoon, I was never to tell him to make good choices again. I never did, but I always prayed that he would. In a recent Andy Stanley message in a series title, “How Not to be Your Own Worst Enemy,” he made the point that other people can see areas in our lives where we’re on the wrong path, but we can’t see it. Not only can’t we see it, but we don’t want to hear what they have to say. When faced with situations like this, praying silently for the person, using the above model is the best option. We tend to discount the power of prayer because the results of it aren’t always easily seen. God doesn’t work on our timetable, but that doesn’t mean He isn’t working. When we pray for people, we need to give Him time to work. Often times, we’ll find, we’re the one He changes, not them.
Today I’m thankful for prayer. What are you thankful for?