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How To Pray for Others - Forward with Back to the Bible - July 19

  • 2021 Jul 19

How To Pray for Others

July 19

Read Colossians 1:9-12 (ESV)

And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.


How does Paul’s example guide us in praying for others?

It may not seem difficult to pray for others when they give you prayer requests. It is an honor and a privilege to intercede on their behalf for God to meet their needs. But how do you pray for people when you don’t know what their specific needs are? How can you pray for missionaries or for your pastors? Or for those in leadership positions? How can you pray more intentionally for your family’s spiritual growth?

Today’s passage is a great example of how to pray for others. Paul heard that there was a group of believers in Colossae. He had never met them but he heard that they had put their faith in Jesus Christ and that they had a love for God’s people (Colossians 1:3-8). So from that moment on, he continually prayed for them. But what did he pray for?

Paul prayed for them to have a knowledge of God’s will. He prayed for them to increase in spiritual wisdom and in the knowledge of God. He prayed that they would live in a way that pleases and glorifies Him. He prayed that by God’s power they would be strengthened so that they would patiently persevere. And finally, he prayed that they would be joyful and thankful because they have a great inheritance in Christ.

In Ephesians 6:18-20, Paul gives us another example of how we can pray for all of God’s people—the saints: “...praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.”

It is interesting that Paul did not ask them to pray for his freedom and release from prison. He didn’t ask them to intercede before the Lord so that his earthly circumstances would change. Rather, he asked them to pray that despite persecution, despite his chains, that God would give him the courage to continue to boldly proclaim the Gospel.

Friends, we have been called to pray for others and intercede for all of the saints. And Paul has shown us how to do this. It is good to intercede on behalf of the needs of God’s people. If someone asks you to pray for an earthly need or for trying circumstances, that is a good thing to do for them! But Paul shows us the importance of being primarily concerned with the spiritual needs of the saints. That is where he focused his prayers for others. Earthly circumstances are important but temporary. Spiritual circumstances are of utmost importance and are eternal. Who can you pray for today?


Father, help me to grow in my prayer life. It is an honor and privilege to be able to intercede for others. Help me to focus my prayers for others on their spiritual growth instead of only focusing on their earthly circumstances. Amen. 

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