How comforting it is to hear, “I’ll be praying for you,” or even better “I am praying for you!” I remember when I was in college at Montana State University and Kathy and I were attending Grace Baptist, that Dr. Heetderks, who taught our college Sunday School class, would often say to us, “Kathy, tell your folks that I pray for them every day.” What a blessing to have those who pray for us on a regular basis. Yesterday at church, a gal who just started radiation for breast cancer, told the congregation how much she appreciated and felt all those who were praying for her.
The Apostle Paul, from a prison cell, wrote to the believers at Colossae and asked them to pray for his mission team, “that God may open a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned; in order that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak” (Col. 4:2-4). Paul had some, like the church at Philippi, who supported him financially, but many who supported him in prayer, and were also thus a key part of his ministry. When I have an opportunity to fill in the pulpit, there are some who always tell me they are praying for me. That means so much! Whether we are involved in full-time Christian vocational ministry or secular work, we all need to be supported in prayer. As “ambassadors for Christ” (II Cor. 5:20), we are ALL in ministry for Christ and need the empowering prayers of our “support team.”
If we have a friend who is facing difficulty, whether physical, financial, spiritual, or relational, they need to know we are praying for them, that God will give them strength to endure and a “peace that passes understanding” (Phil. 4:6,7).
In the evening before His betrayal, torture, trial, and crucifixion, Jesus said to Peter, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission (literally, “begged earnestly”) to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers” (Lk. 22:31,32). Peter, of course, boldly proclaimed his loyalty and that he “was ready to go both to prison and to death” for Christ! (v. 33). Jesus knew better (v. 34) and had already prayed for him. “You” in Lk. 22:31 is plural, indicating that Satan wanted permission to attack all the disciples, knowing that if all the disciples could be made to abandon the faith, the gospel could not be spread, and Christianity would die. Well, PTL, Jesus had prayed for them, that, though they would all struggle with their faith in the next few days, they would prevail, and the Holy Spirit would soon come to empower them and they would take the gospel worldwide (Acts 1:8) for which we are eternally grateful!
Satan’s desire to “sift” those who would spread the gospel has not abated. He knows the destruction it causes in the lives of those influenced by one who falls. The “ripple effect” may last for years, and some may never recover. But, be encouraged! The One who prayed for Peter and the other disciples, “ever lives to make intercession” for us (Heb. 7:25). We get a glimpse into Jesus’ prayer life in John 17, where John recorded Christ’s great High Priestly prayer, as He poured out His heart to the Father just prior to His arrest. He not only prayed for the disciples, but He prayed “for those who would believe on Me through their word“ (Jn. 17:20). That includes us! How comforting to know that Jesus is still praying for us (Heb. 7:25). And He, more than anyone else in the world, knows our exact needs, and will always do what is for our good and His glory.
But, He also uses the prayers of the saints to meet those needs, and that is where you and I come in. If you tell someone you will pray for them–do it! Kathy and I have a prayer list of missionaries, pastors, family, and friends whom we pray for daily. That list keeps growing, not only for people, but for world situations like currently in the Ukraine and surrounding countries. Do you have those for whom you pray daily? Do you pray for us? We need your prayers too!