Last week I shared with you four instructions to guide us when we pray. Today I wish to share with you five groups of important persons for whom you should pray. You may know how to pray, but often you do not know for whom you should pray. We are told in the scriptures who is important to include in our prayers.
Laborers: “Then He said to his disciples, the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” (Matthew 9:37-38). Workers can include anyone who is a believer in Christ Jesus, not just ordained people. Probably the greatest witness is to share what God in Christ Jesus has done for you. If you want to be a “laborer,” spend time listening to people share problems, for there are many, then spend time praying for them and with them.
Others: This list may be composed of family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and others. When it comes to family, I pray daily for my wife. It’s hard to “fuss and fight” with someone for whom you spend time praying. I prayed for my two children before they were born, and still do. Now I pray daily for my grandchildren also. Did you know Jesus spent time praying for you? “My prayer is not for them alone (apostles), I pray also for those who will believe in Me through their message.” (John 17:20). It is good to have a prayer partner, someone with whom you feel comfortable sharing personal needs and concerns.
Those in Authority: National, state, and local leaders are those in authority for whom we are to pray. Even though we do not agree with them in all maters we still have that responsibility. The apostle Paul write to young Timothy, “I urge, then, first of all that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” (I Timothy 2:1-2)
Enemies: This is probably the hardest group we are asked to include in prayer. In that there are those whom we would consider our enemies, there is a lot of hurt and bitterness to overcome. This fact in itself makes it difficult to pray for them unless you desire to pray a prayer of revenge for God to take them out. But, we know that is not the reason for which we are to pray for them. “You have heard it said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: ‘Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may (prove to be) a child of your Father in heaven.’”
Non-Believers: Not everyone is a believer in Christ Jesus. We have a great responsibility to pray for them. The apostle Paul prayed for his own people, “My heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they might be saved.” You may have family-members, neighbors, co-workers who have not made that commitment to trust Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior; pray for them.