If God already knows what is best are we just trying to change His mind by getting more people to pray for what we want? If not, then why should we ask for prayer or intercede for one another?
We do not ask for people to come together in prayer to be more convincing of God, but to stand in the gap in our struggle, weakness, and despair with their assurance, comfort, and Christ-confident hope. Praying together is the Body Life togetherness and participation together with Christ in what God is doing in out lives, not democratic vote of God’s actions. It’s community not a coup.
Group prayer in the Bible
David and Solomon called people together to pray, uniting a vision for God’ Temple and celebrating God’s sovereignty over evil.
Jehoshaphat called people to pray and look to God as their only hope over impossible circumstances.
Jesus asked His disciples to pray for each other and Him and demonstrated group prayer with them for unity before His arrest.
Jesus also made public His prayers for others: Peter’s denial and restoration, His grief of the cross, His desire to be in community with God and others, and the need for prayer for others’ deliverance.
Paul exhorted the early church to pray together for encouragement, to “pray for all the Saints”, and for him even as he mentions in every church letter how he is prayed for them.
Believers after Pentecost gathered regularly to share and pray. It was central to the development of Body Life of faith in His grace.
How to Pray When God Knows Best
When I do conferences around the US and abroad on our life by grace, those who have been involved in prayer ministry, hospital visitation, and pastoral ministry often get freed up from thinking God isn’t already bringing about our best by grace. But that makes them wonder if they are praying and interceding according to the truth. Do we pray for what people want if God is not withholding anything from us in Christ? Do we pray out of our lack in a circumstance when we already have fullness in Christ by grace? I’ll expound on much more in a future email on grace-based prayer, instead of here talking specifically about asking others to pray. But prayer is not to convince God to do our will, but to participate and align our hearts with Him and each other.
Grace means we already have God’s favor; it’s not something we earn. He cares more about those we pray for than we do, so prayer is more about participating by faith in His activity than exercising some power of God’s will and activity. How can we do that in an authentic and encouraging way? Well here’s some tips…
5 Quick Prayer Tips
There’s a ton of ideas to share in praying for one another, but here are a just few tips for praying for others from a grace perspective:
- Feel free to pray for what they ask AND for God’s will – Yes He knows best, but we also get to make our requests known and trust Him with His results. We can know His heart for them without knowing exactly how He is using the circumstances their in. Pray “both/and” not “either/or” prayers for others.
- Don’t ask for details – God knows all the specifics so you don’t have to, and people can share more easily without any pressure to share more,
- Don’t gossip – only share with others if the requester asks you to pass it along. Period. Nuff said.
- Follow-up appropriately – letting them know you’re still praying or asking if anything has changed is a great encouragement, but you don’t have to remember or bring it up every time I you chat.
- Trust and respond to the Spirit’s leading. If you have already prayed for a request, you can keep a list of requests, but you can also trust God to remind you and simply be quick to lift up a quick prayer as God brings people and needs to mind. This is great for learning to participate with Him AND for interceding for others.
Friends, we have a tendency among us who are growing in our freedom in grace to reject some useful practices for the Christian life because they’ve been done for all the wrong reasons in institutional churchianity, for religious piety, or trying to earn by the flesh what is already ours by grace. However, Just because most people do the right things for the wrong reasons, doesn’t make them wrong things.
Be QUICK to ask for prayer and to pray for and with each other. This is the comfort of God’s family and encouragement of our One True Hope by grace. Not to convince Him, but to be “in it” rightly focused with each other.
I and our prayer team would be privileged to come alongside you in prayer! If you’d like prayer, come peruse our new website still in progress at MikeQDaniel.com and and share on the contact page.We’d love to be in it with you, too.
Question: “What is one right or wrong reason to ask for prayer or one tip or question you have about prayer?” (Share in the comments!)