The phrases, “Pray for me” and “I’m praying for you” have been used so much they have become Christian small talk akin to “How you doing?… Fine, thank you.” But when it comes to praying for each other we need to be people who inform others that we are praying for them.
Telling someone that you are praying for them and what your prayers for them consist of does two things for the person on whose behalf you are praying:
First: they see your concern for them. Epaphras was a man who was concerned for the church at Colossae. His concern for them caused him to “labor fervently for them in prayer” (Col 4:12). Can you imagine how the church at Colossae felt when they heard that their friend Epaphras was praying for them and that in his prayers he asked God to make them “stand perfect and complete” in His will. Their hearts must have overflowed with joy.
The second benefit is that it gives them strength to continue on in the faith. Why did Paul know that his first imprisonment would end with his deliverance? It was because of a supply of God’s Spirit and because he knew the church at Philippi was praying that his imprisonment would end with his deliverance (Php 1:19). It was because of God’s help and because Paul knew others were praying for him that he had enough strength to “this will turn out for my deliverance… whether by life or by death.” (Php 1:20) Imagine for a moment what it would have been like for Paul if he thought no one was praying for him? Paul would have only been half the man he was.
Paul understood the power of telling people that he was praying for them and what his prayers consisted of. In nearly every one of his epistles he tells his recipients he his praying for them and what he prayed for on their behalf. Paul encouraged the church at Rome (Rom 1:9-12), Corinth (1 Cor 1:4-8; 2 Cor 13:7), the churches of Galatia (Gal 6:18) Ephesus (Eph 1:16-23), Philippi (Php 1:3-6), and Thessalonica (1 Ths 1:2-3; 2 Ths 11-12) by telling them that he prayed for them and what he prayed for on their behalf.
As we pray for others we need to tell them that we are praying for them and what we are praying for on their behalf. You never know, it just might be your encouragement that gives the strength to keep on another day.
Have you been praying for someone special in your life? Maybe it’s a person who is sick, or recently lost a loved one or a job, or perhaps you’ve been praying for someone who is struggle with overcoming sin. Sent them a note or go see them and tell them you have been praying for them and what your prayers for them consist of. They will benefit greatly from your love and that you remembered them.
I would love to know how it went. Drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me your story of how prayer has changed your life.