God wants us to pray to Him. We are even told to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). But I ask you to consider your prayers. What do you pray about? Do you mostly pray that God would solve problems in your life or show you what to do? Do you also thank God for what He has done and is doing for you? Do you praise Him in prayer? There are so many things that you can pray about. In this encouragement, I want you to consider having more intercessory prayers in your prayer life. Intercessory prayers are prayers for someone besides yourself. This kind of prayer is mentioned in 1 Timothy 2:1 “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men.” Most of the intercessory prayers I hear are for someone’s health or safety in travel. I want you to consider other areas to pray for others.
Jesus prayed for his disciples that they would be protected from the evil one. John 17:15 “I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.” You also can pray for those you know that they would be kept from the evil one. Jesus prayed for unity and oneness of his disciples. John 17:20-21 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.” Pray for the unity of the church. Romans 10:1 “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.” You can also pray for the salvation of those who are lost.
The Apostle Paul prayed for the different churches that he knew. He prayed for the church at Philippi. Philippians 1:9-11 “And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” He prayed for the church at Ephesus. Ephesians 1:15-19 “Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power.” He prayed for the church in Thessalonica. 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 “Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power, that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” And he prayed for the church at Colossi: Colossians 1:9-12 “For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.”
I have tried to summarize some of the things that Paul prayed for the churches. He prayed that their love would increase. He prayed that they would approve the things that are excellent, that they would be sincere and without offense, and that they would be filled with the fruits of righteousness. He prayed that God would give them the spirit of wisdom, that the eyes of their understanding would be enlightened, that they would know the riches of the glory of His inheritance, and that they would know the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe. He prayed that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ would be glorified in them, that they would be filled with the knowledge of His will, and that they would walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him. He prayed that they would be fruitful in every good work, that they would increase in the knowledge of God, and that they would be strengthened with all might. He gave thanks for them. I see these as excellent examples of how we can pray for other Christians and for other churches.
You can pray for evangelists and preachers. Paul wrote to the Ephesian church in Ephesians 6:19-20 “And for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.” You can pray for all men and for governmental authorities. 1 Timothy 2:1-2 “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.” Jesus taught us to pray for our enemies. Matthew 5:44 “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.”
You can pray for healing and forgiveness of sins for others. James 5:14-16 “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”
The scriptures give you examples of all kinds of prayers. In addition to praying for yourself and praising and thanking God, I encourage you to pray for others – intercessory prayers. Other people also need God’s grace in their lives.