For the last several weeks, I’ve been sharing how the knees of a leader bow to God in prayer. What an awesome privilege it is to connect and communicate directly with the Lord through prayer! Indeed, prayer is one of our most important spiritual disciplines to help us be led by the Spirit.
We can pray about anything at any time. We can pray to proclaim our praise to God or pray to ask for help from Him. While sometimes we need to pray for ourselves, today I’d like to share why it’s important to pray for others. As leaders, it’s critical that we take time to pray for those under our responsibility and all we may influence. Here are six reasons we should pray for other people:
1. Prayer works! “Pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16, NKJV). Your prayers make a difference. The lives and situations of the people you pray for will be better because you prayed.
2. Praying for others keeps you from becoming too self-centered. “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4). It’s easy to become consumed with our own responsibilities, but we should never forget that other people have their own challenges. Taking time to pray for them helps us to keep the right perspective.
3. Prayer is a powerful witness and can open the door to evangelism. Even people who are hesitant to go to church are often open to your offer to pray with them. Many people who have real needs genuinely desire prayer though they may not admit it or openly ask for it. You’re more likely to share a prayer with someone than to share a sermon with them. People will always remember that you prayed for them in their time of need. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
4. You may be the only one praying for a certain person. I’m blessed with many family members and friends who are believers and are praying people. But not everyone has such a strong support system. God orders our steps, and He may have brought someone across your path just so you could pray for them. “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord” (Psalm 37:23).
5. We should pray for others, especially those in authority, because their decisions have a direct impact on our lives. “I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercession, 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” (1 Timothy 1:1-2). Instead of complaining about supervisors and government leaders, let’s pray for them!
6. When we pray for others, we receive a blessing in return. This is part of the spiritual principle of sowing and reaping. “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: ‘May they prosper who love you.’” (Psalm 122:6). Here, the psalmist exhorts that those who love and pray for the people of Jerusalem will prosper themselves. I believe when you engage your heart in sincere prayer for others, God will honor you. I can attest that it seems the more I pour out of my heart to pray for someone else, the more my heart is full.
I also believe that when you make the effort to pray for others, God will call other people to pray for you! So, who has God laid on your heart and mind today? I encourage you to take some time to pray for them. You’ll be glad you did.