Praying for All by Scarlett Stough

Every Christian has been given a privileged duty---prayer. We are privileged to be invited to speak to the Sovereign Creator of the Universe calling him “Daddy” (Romans 8:15). We are exhorted to take petitions to him on behalf of one another: “Be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:18).

The King James Version uses the word “supplications” instead of “praying” in this same passage. It translates the Greek word which means “prayer for particular benefits” (The New Strong’s Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. There is another word which applies to prayer in general.) In other words, be specific in bringing requests to God for each other. We do that when we respond to prayer requests for matters of health (James 5:15).

But health matters are not the only specific prayers we can offer on one another’s behalf. In this passage in James a person’s spiritual health is included. How often do we criticize, but fail to “make supplication” on behalf of the person being criticized? Jesus commanded us to pray even for our enemies (Matthew 5:44-45). How much more should we pray for a brother or sister in Christ who, we think, is sinning or making a mistake? Perhaps we have reason to suspect discouragement which could lead them away from the faith. Our supplications for each other can make a difference in the long run. Otherwise, why would Jesus have us do it?

Jesus prayed for Peter: “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:31-32).

Notice Jesus said “when” not “if” Peter turned back. Perhaps the person for whom we are praying will turn back from their error and begin to strengthen others who are in danger.

My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins (James 5:19-20).

Our supplications for one another do make a difference. God does not take away our freedom of choice, but our prayers do provide defense against the devil’s schemes, as it says in Ephesians 6.

Let’s make sure we have each other’s backs through prayer as Epaphras did for the church at Colosse: “Epaphras, who is one of you, and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured” (Colossians 4:12).

Let’s keep alert for that “prowling lion” and keep our communication lines open to God for the power we need to resist him and to strengthen our brothers and sisters in Christ.


Volume 11 Issue 5 | Notes from Nancy | Women in Christ Commentary | Bible Study Guide | Abundance of the Heart | Exhortation | Book Review

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