Friday, November 15, 2013

Praying for Others When We Don’t Know What to Pray

“We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding,  so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience,  and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light”
 (Colossians 1:9-12).

When we know someone with pain or problems - particularly ongoing ones - we want to pray for them.  But sometimes we just don’t know what to say.  We pray for relief. We pray for perseverance.  We pray for ability to still enjoy things in life.  But I think this passage in Colossians is the best prayer we could offer for anyone, including ourselves.

We all want to know God’s will as to how we should deal with our struggles, so prayers for wisdom and understanding are quite appropriate.  And we want to live lives worthy of God as a testimony to Him even through our suffering.

Regardless of how limited we are, we can all bear fruit until God calls us home.  We can continue to grow in our relationship with Him and our understanding of Him as much as our earthly minds will allow.  Of course we need patience and endurance to survive our pain and problems.  We all know (at least in theory) that giving thanks and maintaining joy through suffering is not only Biblical but beneficial to our minds, bodies, and spirits. And lastly, keeping a focus on the glorious inheritance we have yet to come can help us hang on during the worst of times here.

Yes, we can pray for healing and relief.   But perhaps our first and best prayer should be these verses.  I can’t imagine more comprehensive, beautiful, or God-pleasing words than these.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, as we pray for ourselves and others, we want to focus on symptom relief.  May we pray for these Biblical qualities as well, knowing that as we live them out, we can face our suffering here with much greater victory.  Amen.

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