Paul tells us to “Pray without ceasing.” 1 Thess. 5:17 (NIV). This is a tough command. But one way we can do that within our congregations, or among our fellow Christian bloggers, is to be praying for each other.
Often we think that we shouldn’t bother God, or our fellow Christians, with the small needs in our lives. But God wants us to bring all things to Him in prayer. We are sometime anxious about little things, and those are the very things we need to put in God’s hands.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV).
Here Paul tells us to pray for everything, not just the big things. We shouldn’t wait until a loved one has cancer or we’ve been out of a job for 6 months before we go to God in prayer, or ask others to pray for us. Jesus taught us to pray “give us this day our daily bread.” That seems like a fairly small need in the scope of things we pray for, but God wants to answer our basic prayers.
One of the greatest benefits of daily prayer and bringing the small things to God is that it gives us practice in the art of prayer and in the art of recognizing the answers to prayer. One of the greatest benefits of asking others to pray for us is that they get to see the answers, too, and we grow closer to our fellow Christians.
Do you have a need that God can help with? Do you have a Christian support system to ask others to pray for you? What about your local church, does it provide you with a prayer support system? If not, what can you do to help create a prayer support structure?
In my church, there are three prayer opportunities within our congregation:
- Congregants can ask that the Board of Elders take their need to the Lord in prayer;
- Congregants can ask that one or both of our intercessory prayer teams keep them in their prayers; or
- Congregants can have their needs lifted up before the whole congregation as part of the Prayers of the People on Sunday morning.
But these aren’t the only possibilities. Some churches have dedicated prayer rooms. I’ve also been in a church where prayer warriors were available in the back of the church during the corporate prayer time for one-on-one prayer. An email prayer tree is another great option. Even just finding one other person to ask for prayer is better sometimes than keeping your concern to yourself.
God does answer prayers. I’ve seen it happen many times. The answer isn’t always what we think it should be, but He is quite good at making His hand in our lives known, especially within a congregation or other Christian fellowship group that prays together and for each other.