Six Things to Pray for Others
When I accepted the job as the Women’s Ministry Director at a church in Memphis, I felt inadequate for the task. Yet I knew God had called me to say yes to this position.
When I shared with the Alumni Director at Dallas Theological Seminary that I had accepted the job, I told him I was excited, but scared to death at the same time. His response: “That’s a great place to be—scared to death—because that will keep you on your knees the first few years in the ministry. And if you’re wise, you’ll stay in that position for the rest of your life—on your knees.
I’ve never forgotten his words. He was right. I knew I couldn’t do this job in my own strength. Even though I had gone to seminary to prepare for this, I still felt inadequate. Fear of failure kept me on my knees in prayer. God, help me. Show me what to do.
I knew the importance of prayer as I began this new journey of leading the Women’s Ministry, and I asked God to show me how to pray for the women He had entrusted to my leadership. Over the years here I’ve used Paul’s prayers to guide me in praying for them. One of my favorite prayers to pray for others (and myself) is Paul’s prayer in Colossians 1:9–12.
“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.”
In this prayer, Paul shows us six things to pray for the people in our ministries, our small groups, our churches, our families, our friends, and ourselves.
- Spiritual Discernment
Verse 9: “. . . that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and
understanding . . .”
Do you want to know God’s will? Keep a clean heart. Be attentive to His Word and the prompting of the Holy Spirit within you. Ask for discernment to distinguish between His leading and your desires. Seek counsel from godly friends who know you and the situation well.
- A Worthy Walk
Verse 10: “. . . so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him . . .”
I want to live my life in a way that brings honor to God, not shame. I want to please Him with my words, actions, and thoughts. But there are times I have to decide whom I want to please most—my Lord or others. Sometimes I can please both at the same time, but other times, I disappoint someone, and it’s hard. But when I get into bed at night and reflect on my decisions that day, there’s only one person I need to please—the Lord Jesus Christ.
At the end of your day, pause and ask Him, Lord, did I please you today with my actions, my words, and my thoughts? Did I walk in a manner worthy of you today? Was I faithful to obey You?
- Eternal fruit
Verse 10: “. . . bearing fruit in every good work . . .”
Eternal fruit is leading people to Christ, helping others grow toward spiritual maturity, and demonstrating the fruit of the Spirit in our own lives as given in Galatians 5:22–23: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.
But we can’t bear fruit on our own efforts. In John 15, Jesus tells us the key to bearing fruit is abiding in Christ. We don’t bear fruit by focusing on the fruit. We bear fruit by focusing on Him.
What eternal fruit are you bearing? If you’re not bearing fruit, ask God to show you if there’s something you need to change. Are you abiding in Him?
- A Deeper Relationship with God
Verse 10: “. . . increasing in the knowledge of God.”
As we grow in our knowledge of God and His character, we learn how to trust Him even when times get difficult. To grow in our knowledge of God, we have to be hungry to know more of Him. We have to spend time alone with Him in His Word and in prayer, getting to know His heart. Studying His attributes help us grow in our knowledge of God.
What are you doing regularly to help you grow deeper in your relationship with God?
- God-given Strength
Verse 11: “May you bestrengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy . . .”
As we walk the path God has laid out for us, draw from His power in us through the Holy Spirit, not from our own strength. The Holy Spirit lives in us, and He is the source of strength to empower us to do all that God calls us to do and to handle any trials He allows into our lives with steadfastness and patience. Our strength will never be enough, but His strength is sufficient.
To draw from His strength instead of our own, we have to admit we need Him. Begin each day by acknowledging your weakness and your need for His strength.
- A Thankful Heart
Verse 12: “. . . giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.”
Give thanks in all things instead of grumbling and complaining. Remembering all God has done for us and how He has worked in the past helps us develop a thankful heart. I keep a thank you journal. Every morning, I write at least one thing I’m thankful for that day, one thing I’ve seen God do in my life. It keeps me thankful as I reflect on God’s work through the years.
Begin keeping a thank you journal if you’re not already doing that. Write down something you’re thankful for first thing in the morning or before you go to bed at night.
Prayer is vital to spiritual growth, and Paul knew how to pray for the spiritual growth of those he ministered to and for himself. He prayed:
- They would know God’s will.
- They would please God.
- They would bear eternal fruit.
- They would grow deeper in their relationship with God.
- They would draw from God’s strength.
- They would have a thankful heart.
Why not pray these six things for someone today? Pray them for yourself.