by Brandy Webb
Do you have a tendency to pray more for yourself than for others? I know I do, and sometimes I wonder if I have my prayer priorities out of order. Now, I don’t think it is wrong to pray for ourselves as long as it doesn’t cause us to focus more on ourselves rather than thinking of others.
I am realizing that when I tend to let my prayers become more about me, rather than others, I become guilty of not fulfilling the scripture to esteem others better than myself (Philippians 2:3). What better way to put others first than to pray for them first. There is much power in prayer, and to use that power to help someone else helps us become more Christ-like, who always put others first.
One of the things that really brings me joy is when I can do something for someone else. I especially love it when I find a present that I know fits a particular person. In fact, I’d rather shop for other people than myself. Well, prayer is free. You don’t have to have a large bank account to pray for others. Isn’t that awesome? We have something that we can constantly do for other people that only costs us time.
So, some may wonder, how powerful can prayer really be? James tells us to confess our sins to each other and then pray for each other. Why? So, that we can be healed because the “insistent prayer of a righteous person is powerfully effective” (James 5:16). How does he prove it? Elijah, who was human just like us, and had the same human nature as we do, prayed earnestly that it might not rain, “and it didn’t rain on the earth for three years and six months. He prayed again, and the sky gave rain, and the earth brought forth its fruit” (James 5:17-18). I think that is some pretty powerful prayer, and Elijah wasn’t a superhuman. We can all be “Elijahs” through our own prayers, and just think how awesome we would feel by using that power to help someone else.
Jesus Christ also prayed for others. He even prayed for the ones that crucified Him (Luke 23:34). I think if it is important for our Messiah to think of others when He was in extreme pain and dying. It is definitely an action that we all need to practice and do.
I believe praying for others is one way we can fulfill the perfect law of God. Paul tells us to “carry one another’s burdens” because this is the fulfillment of the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2). We may not always be able to literally carry someone’s burdens, but we can do it through prayer. Paul wasn’t able to physically help everyone he wanted to, but he never ceased praying for them. Therefore, take the time out of your day to go to God’s throne in prayer for someone you know that is hurting. Or call someone up on the phone and pray with them. This “small” action can have tremendous results in the long run. Sometimes we may not know how God answered the prayer, but that isn’t what matters. What matters is walking in faith and putting others needs before our own. So pray for each other because prayer is powerful.