Why not pray for others as you’d want them to pray for you?
Posted in , May 26, 2021
Everyone knows the Golden Rule, right? It’s the command Jesus gave to His followers, as recorded in Matthew 7:12 and Luke 6:31: “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
Something interesting (to me, at least) happened as I encountered those memorable words in my evening Bible reading. Because I not only read the Bible regularly, but try also to pray as I read, it dawned on me that the Golden Rule applies to the way I pray as well. That may not seem surprising to you—after all, the Golden Rule applies to all of life, right? Thoughts, words and actions. But it was a revelation to me.
I pondered whether I sometimes break the Golden Rule when I pray for others. Or don’t pray for them. So, in my prayers that night, I had a little talk with God. It went something like this:
Me: Lord, do I pray for others as I would have others pray for me?
God: How do you want others to pray for you? (He often answers my questions with questions).
Me: Well, I want people to pray regularly for me. Especially when I’m in some kind of crisis or special need.
God: So, do you think that’s how you should pray?
Me: Yes, of course. And when I ask for prayer, I hope they don’t just say “I’ll pray for you,” and then forget about it.
God: So, you should be faithful to pray when you say you will?
Me: Yes. Although I do forget sometimes.
God: So, should you pray immediately, whenever possible? And do whatever you can to remind yourself of those who’ve asked for prayer?
God: How else do you want others to pray for you?
Me: I think I want them to ask for more information, so they can pray more specifically for me.
God: So, is that how you might pray for others?
God: Anything else?
Me: I want people to pray good things for me.
God: Of course you do.
Me: But sometimes I feel like people are judging or criticizing me when they pray. You know, a sort of, “God, make him a better person.”
God: You don’t want to be a better person?
Me: You know I do. I just don’t like it when others’ prayers feel like gossip or criticism.
God: So you’re saying you shouldn’t do that when you pray for others?
God: Keep that in mind, then.
Me: I will. And thank you.
That’s not an exact transcription, of course. And I should stress that my side of the conversation was mostly audible, but God’s wasn’t. Still, it was, as I said, a revelation for me to contemplate praying for others as I would have others pray for me. I’m sure God isn’t done refining me in that area (among many others), but it’s already having an effect.