When a friend is dealing with the loss of a loved one or some other difficult situation, many ask for prayer and many will offer to pray for them. But why pray for others? Is it important to pray for other people?
To answer this question, as always, we need to go to God’s Word. What does God say about praying for others?
All prayer by those who have been born-again (John 3:3, James 5:16, Matthew 5:44) is heard by God and He tells us to “intercede” for others (1 Timothy 2:1). That intercession (praying on behalf of others) can, and should be, for other Christians as well as those who are lost. If the lost do not seek the Lord, He does not hear their prayer (Psalm 66:18, James 4:3), but he does hear the intercessory prayer of His Children (1 John 5:14).
There are three primary reasons why it is important to pray for other people:
1. Because although God is omnipotent (all powerful), omniscient (all knowing) and omnipresent (everywhere at all times), He operates through prayer. As believers, we love all, so pray for all. If you witness an accident, you’re going to call the police even though you know that other witnesses probably already have. You do so because you care and you want to do all you can to help those involved in the accident.
2. Because God Himself tells us to, through the Scriptures (Job 42:8, 1 Timothy 2:1) in many ways. Paul and other writers, for instance, asked for prayer and acknowledged praying for others on several occasions (Romans 15:30, Acts 12:5, Philippians 1:19, Philippians 1:19, Psalm 122:6). The verses listed are only a small percentage of the many references of men and women of God praying for others. It is exceedingly clear that we are to pray for both believers and non-believers.
3. Praying for others, and letting them know that you are doing so, encourages them and shows them that you care. It is not only a loving gesture, it is a loving act … to raise them up to the throne of Grace because you care for them. It is an aspect of fellowship, love and support to intercede for another (when we pray for another, it is called “intercessory prayer), as the Lord Jesus Christ intercedes for us.
Are there advantages when several believers pray for a particular need? Yes.
There are many passages in the Bible that support the fact that several believers praying together and agreeing with another on a particular need … praying about it, in effect is a “stronger cry” to the Lord and can cause Him to take action when He may not have otherwise.
A few examples are:
2 Corinthians 1:11 – Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf.
Acts 12:5 – Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.
If, however, a prayer is made by a single believer it is heard, and if it is in His will, it will be answered favorably (James 5:16, 1 John 5:14).
It is very important that all believers pray for all things that burden their heart for the reasons mentioned above, whether it is one believer praying or many. But there is something special about several believers raising up a concern to God in one accord.
Believers should also keep in mind the fact that the prayers of non-believers, who are not truly seeking God in their heart, are not heard. But our intercessory prayers for them are. Because prayer is the way God chooses to operate, we should always pray for them.
James 5:16b – “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
God gives us a promise here, that if our prayers are in His will, they are not only heard, but effective and avail much. Believers are counted “righteous” through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). If believers are walking in righteousness their prayers will thus be heard and answered by our LORD.
So, does it help? Yes!