1 Samuel 12:16-25
Yesterday, I explored the importance of asking others for prayer and I looked a little at how we are also to be willing to pray for others. Today, I want to explore at how God expects us to pray for others, even if we do not like what they are doing. When I am asked by someone to pray for them, I first offer to pray for them right then and then I try to write down their prayer request because I am afraid I will forget to pray for them. This summer, I have started a prayer journal which has helped me greatly in praying for others. My friend’s prayer requests are written down and I can also record when they have had an answer or have received what they needed. I want to look at an interesting statement Samuel the prophet made to the Israelites when he explained their sin for asking for a king. Please read 1 Samuel 12:16-25.
The statement I would like to focus on is in verse 23 when Samuel says, “As for me, I will certainly not sin against the LORD by ending my prayers for you. And I will continue to teach what is good and right.” It made me wonder if it was a sin to not pray for other people especially when at the moment that Samuel made that statement he was feeling very frustrated with the Israelites. I did a little exploring and found a few references back to how we are commanded to love others (Matthew 22:37-40, Luke 6:27-28). If we pray for ourselves and we are told to love others as we love ourselves then my conclusion would be that we are to pray for others. Not only are we to pray for the people that are friends with us, but we are to pray for the people who have hurt us as well. So, even when we are frustrated with someone’s actions, we are not to stop praying for them when God has placed them on our hearts.
I feel that I need to explain that our prayers for other people cannot be selfish prayers that benefit us. For example, I was once a part of two different groups that had opposite opinions of how something should be done; I was young at the time but I learned a huge lesson about praying for others in that experience. Both groups of people prayed, “God, please let the other group see that we are right!” Well, seeing both groups pray that prayer I realized that a prayer like that doesn’t work because what if they are both wrong, and since they had such differing opinions it was safe to conclude that at least one of the groups were on the wrong track. Praying that the other person would come to our way of thinking and opinion is not a good prayer; when we pray we are to seek God’s Will. When we pray for others, we are not to be asking that our will be done in their lives; we are to be praying that God’s work will be done in their lives. So, when we pray for others we know that not only are we to pray for the people that have hurt us, but we are also to be praying God’s Will for their lives!
Next week, I will be exploring how we pray for others. Are you praying for others? Are you lifting up unselfish prayers for the people around you including those who have hurt you?