Praying for others is a gift given to Christians so as to participate in the heaven on earth experience. Scripture shares that we can, and should, pray for each other, but how often do we ration our prayers because of our own limited expectations. We pray for the salvation of people we know who do not profess to be followers of Jesus. We specifically ask that they are saved from an eternity in hell and given an eternity in heaven and this is the right thing to do. However, when we pray, do we consider what we want for them while they are waiting for eternity?
Next time you are in a prayer gathering, listen as believers pray. We will ask God to release our unchurched family and friends from their earthly struggles such as health issues, financial or martial difficulties. However, do we pray that these same people find the truth to live the “tranquil, quiet and dignified godliness life?” (1Timothy 2:2b). Do we pray that the lost are changed by God and receive the fruit of the Holy Spirit so that they experience “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness” (Galatians 5:22-23)? Do we pray that they are given the strength and wisdom to endure the struggles? After all, Christians are not promised an exception from troubles. They however are promised to be comforted and strengthened through them.
Jesus taught us to pray for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in Heaven. In the garden He showed us that His will included His creation living in harmony. His relationship as the harmonized Trinity is the role model for the way we live with God, with ourselves, with others around us, and with nature. God says this harmony can occur on earth while we wait for the gift of eternity with Him. So, why would we not actually want more for the lost and for ourselves while we wait for Jesus to come back?
Praying for salvation is wonderful. Praying to be released from troubles is acceptable. Praying to live as God desires while we wait is necessary. Next time you go before your Father in heaven, please bring your lost friends before Him but don’t forget to also ask that the Holy Spirit nudge, comfort and support them so they can experience and spread the hope that comes with walking with God.
PS – don’t forget to ask the same for yourself.