by Dr. Jack Hyles
Perhaps the greatest thing that one individual can do for another is to pray sincerely for him. The Apostle Paul felt the need of the prayer’s of God’s people. He strongly hinted in his epistle to the Romans that when they prayed for him, they fought his battle with him and entered into his labors!
Romans 15:30, “Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me.” He wrote the Colossians asking the saints there to pray for him. Colossians 4:2, “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving.” He also sought prayer support from the Corinthians people. II 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.” Likewise, he sought prayer help from the Thessalonians. II Thessalonians 3:1, “Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you.” He showed his confidence in the prayers of his friend, Philemon, in Philemon 22, “But withal prepare me also a lodging: for I trust that through your prayers I shall be given unto you.”
He also reminded the people of God that he prayed for them, just as he requested them to pray for him. Such assurance was given to the Romans in Romans 1:9, “For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers.” He told the Ephesians that he constantly prayed for them. Ephesians 1:16, “Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers.” At another place he said, “Without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day.” (II Timothy 1:3b) Again he said, “We do not cease to pray for you.” (Colossians 1:9b) We owe it to others to pray for them.
1. Prayer is getting things done for others that you cannot do.
II 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.”
Several years ago when Cindy was in college she came to me one day and asked if I could buy a dress for one of her friends. I replied that I barely could keep my own family clothed without clothing her friend also. She persisted and prevailed, and I agreed to buy a dress for her friend. We went to a nice ladies’ shop and bought a beautiful dress. Now what Cindy could not do, she could ask me to do, and the only chance that her friend had to have a new dress for the Valentine’s Banquet was for Cindy to pray to her dad for a new dress for her friend. There are things that I would like for my friends to have that I cannot give them, but I have a wealthy heavenly Daddy to Whom I can go and seek His help on my friend’s behalf.
Linda had a very close friend who was getting married. Linda whispered in her ear and said, “Daddy, my friend doesn’t have enough money for a honeymoon. She and her groom simply cannot afford a honeymoon. Is there anything you could do?” I happened to admire her friend very much, and so I slipped a sizeable sum of money into the couple’s hands on their wedding day. Now I would not have done this if Linda had not asked, for I was not aware of their need. What Linda could not do for her friend, her dad could do, so she prayed her dad that he would.
When I find someone in need, I always ask, “Can I help?” If the need is beyond my ability to help, then I go to my heavenly Daddy and ask Him to help.
2. Praying for others enables us to love people that we otherwise would not love.
Romans 15:30, “Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me.” Of course, this would include praying for those that despitefully use us.Matthew 5:44, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” Such praying will generate love for the enemy in the heart of the one who prays.
When I feel the slightest touch of ill will coming my way, I put on my prayer list the name of the one who possesses that ill will toward me. I don’t pray for him to love me. I pray for his needs. If I feel the slightest negative feeling toward a brother or sister in Christ, I immediately put that name on my prayer list and pray for his needs. What a blessing to see God answer the prayer, even as He answered Cindy and Linda’s prayers!
3. Praying gives us an interest in others.
Philemon 22, “But withal prepare me also a lodging: for I trust that through your prayers I shall be given unto you.” For years I have prayed every day for the churches in my area; that is, the Bible-preaching churches, of course. Now I start with the Oak Forest Baptist Temple in Oak Forest, Illinois, pastored by my good friend, Dr. Bill Schroeder; then I pray across the Calumet region, all the way to Chesterton, Indiana, at the Fairhaven Baptist Church, pastored by my good friend Roger Voegtlin. In between I pray for churches in Sauk Village, Illinois; Dyer, Indiana; and Lowell, Indiana. I also pray for the Calvary Baptist Church of Highland, Indiana; for a church in Griffith, Indiana; for a church in Schererville, Indiana; and one in Merrillville, one in Lake Hills, and the churches in Whiting and Hessville. I pray for the Central Baptist Church of East Chicago, for the Hessville Baptist Church of Hammond and on and on for churches of like faith. Then is it any wonder that I love to hear of good reports of God’s blessings upon these churches, and is it any wonder that I feel an obligation to help and a desire to help when a sister church has a need! This all begins at the throne of grace, when I pray for them.
Do you want to feel a closeness to your children? Pray for them. Do you want to feel a closeness to your friends? Pray for them. Do you have an enemy that you want to love? Pray for them.
4. Praying gives you more victories.
The people for whom you pray receive the answer to your prayers. Their victory is your victory; their thrill is your thrill. Their achievement is your achievement, and you have become a part of their team and you are able to share in their victory. I am convinced that in Heaven we will share the reward of those for whom we diligently prayed. There are churches all across America that are on my prayer list. I almost feel as if I were a member of those churches. When I go to preach at one of them or visit there, I feel like one of the people, and their victories give me joy akin to the joy that I receive when victories come to the church that I pastor.
5. Praying makes us grateful for each other.
Ephesians 1:16, “Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers.” One of the surest ways to feel loved is to feel that someone is praying for you. When I pray and when you pray, we meet at the throne of grace. Though miles separate us, we are actually together, for we are meeting at the same throne, talking to the same God, asking for the same thing. No wonder prayer partners are close partners!