The other weekend, Pastor Scott Wiesner’s sermon touched on the exact topic I have been contemplating–prayer. My learning comes from the position of praying for others. This process was shaped by my experience of praying for a close friend. God showed his faithfulness by answering my prayer! It is, however, important to recognize that our Heavenly Father is not a genie who grants our every wish. If every experience resulted in an answered prayer, then walking with the Father may be the easiest thing to do, but also the most uninteresting and unappreciated relationship, as well.
The kind of prayer that a believer prays can indicate spiritual growth. A young believer may initially petition for his/her own personal needs, such as strength to face a situation or maybe for financial provision. However, as one begins to mature in their faith, their prayer life may increasingly focus on others. As our concerns for others increase, worries for self will decrease. Our own circumstances can consume us, making it difficult to pray for others. As we continue to pray for others, we increasingly witness God’s goodness and faithfulness. Prayer is not only the best gift we can offer someone, it is also a fulfillment of Jesus’ word, “it is more blessed to give than receive”.
As we invest our time and energy into praying for others, we also choose to engage emotionally in the lives of others. We are likely to pray with the purpose of having our petitions answered by the God of Heaven and Earth. We pray for others in agreement, recognizing there are real needs. In addition, as I pray for others, I am keenly interested to see how their lives evolve and I am encouraged as God moves throughout the course of my prayers. When we pay attention to the needs of others, our compassion will grow. In this way, the Spirit increases our capacity to love others through the very act of interceding on others’ behalf. This process opens my spiritual eyes beyond my humble existence, to the amazing work of the Holy Spirit. In turn, this spurs me into increasing confidence and boldness when coming before the Lord with a request.
There were moments of doubt and fear as I prayed for my friend, especially as I was removed from hearing about the progress. Even so, God’s Word of promise, fellow prayer warriors and the hymn, Keep on Believing, kept me on my knees. As a result of this journey, I witnessed first-hand the most gratifying outcome, my friend coming to know the Lord Jesus Christ. I can attest that my spiritual life has been enriched and propelled to a higher plane because of the experience. I am motivated to continue praying for others because I am convinced that blessings come through witnessing His abundant and matchless grace, meeting the needs of others whom I have invested my time and heart into.
Submitted by Elaine Lai