It’s also another way of feeling God’s understanding and compassion.
Posted in , Jun 20, 2022
Not a day goes by that I don’t pray for others. Don’t think I’m so holy for doing it. Truth to tell, I don’t do it just for them, I also do it for myself. It’s a way of restoring a right relationship with God and the world, one day at a time. Here are three Bible verses that help me do that:
1) Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. (James 5:16) To share in someone else’s pain is often a chance to acknowledge your own. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in your own misery. If you’re like me you have an inner voice talking to you, offering both self-congratulations and mental flogging. “Why did I do that? Why do I feel this way? Why can’t I be nicer?”
Then I’ll think of someone else who’s going through troubles. Loss, sorrow, sickness, despair. Pray for them. Feel compassion for them. I find that in doing so I can access God’s love for me, feeling God’s compassion for me. “Pray for one another,” as James says, “so that you may be healed.”
2) First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone. (1Timothy 2:1) I find that sending a text or an email, even making a phone call, are perfect adjuncts to intercessory prayer. It’s what a friend used to tell me was “putting shoe leather on prayer.” An action to reinforce a prayer.
I remember what my father used to say when he heard of some trial a friend was facing: “I’ll hold a good thought for you.” Some people will picture the need and use that imagery to make a prayer. For me, feeling the expanse of compassion and understanding where there might have been none is very much the prayer. Holding that good thought.
3) And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job when he had prayed for his friends… (Job 42:10) God willing, none of us should have to suffer the way Job did. In quick and monstrous succession, he lost everything: his children, his wealth, his health. All he had left was his life. He might have cried out in anguish, but he did not reject God. Did not curse God.
And after his trials were over, all that he lost was restored, more than restored (although I’ve never understood how the lost children could simply be replaced). But first he had to pray for his friends—friends who had blamed the blameless Job for all his misfortunes.
Like I said, to pray for others is to claim and restore a right relationship with the world and God. In the process, may we never have to suffer as Job did.