Bible Studies for Life

with Rick Henson

Sunday,  November 11

Praying for Others

Matthew 6:11; John 17:11-23

As with last week’s lesson, our text this week is Matthew 6:11, “Give us this day our daily bread,” (KJV). We focused last week on our daily needs, and this week we will focus on the small word, “our.” This single word reminds us that we are individually part of the body of Christ. We are a community of believers. The Greek word ekklesia, translated into English “church,” means “a called-out assembly.” That is why our Assembly of God friends selected their name. Unfortunately, somewhere along the line, our word “church” came to refer to the building instead of the body.

Jesus not only taught in the Lord’s Prayer that we are a body -OUR Father, OUR daily bread, OUR debts, lead US not into temptation- He also modeled that in John 17:11-23. He prayed for us even before there was an us. Many versions of the bible have headlines along the way that are added by the editors to mark a new section. For example, my copy reads above Matthew 5:1 “The Beatitudes.” My copy calls John 17, “Jesus prays for His disciples.” Jesus told Simon Peter in Matthew 16, “I have prayed for you,” so we see that He practiced intercession and taught it. Believers are commanded to go to God on behalf of others.

One of the greatest tasks we can do for other people is pray for them. It may not feel heroic or ever be noticed by others, but to go before the throne of God on behalf of someone else is powerful. James 5:16b reads, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much,” (KJV). Even as we pray for our needs, we should pray for the needs of others, interceding as if their needs were our own. Such prayer is one way we live out the great command in Matthew 22:39, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, (KJV).

While each believer comes to Christ individually, he or she then becomes part of the body, each with distinctive gifts and callings. Romans 14:7 reads, “For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself,” (KJV). Throughout the New Testament, the scriptures teach us how to live with one another. In fact, sixty-four times from Acts to Revelation the New Testament speak of how we should behave towards one another, using the words, “one another.” Ephesians 4:25 teaches, “Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another,” (KJV). We are members of each other. The Christ in us and the Christ in them makes us one.

So many verses speak of the unity of the body of Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:25 warns, “That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another,” (KJV). Many refer to forgiveness. Colossians 3:13 reads, “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye,” (KJV). Others, like 1 Thessalonians 4:18 and 5:11 urge us to comfort one another.

James 5:16a reads, “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed,” (KJV). This follows the well-known passage about calling for the elders for prayer for healing, and the healing prayer of faith. In other words, healing of our bodies or souls in no solitary matter. Galatians 5:13 adds, “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another,” (KJV). Since many are involved in each salvation event, let us work together to share the gospel with one another.

1 John 1:7 teaches, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin,” (KJV). Fellowship with one another includes praying for each other. Hebrews 7:25 says of Jesus, “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them,” (KJV). Jesus taught us in the Lord’s prayer to pray for each other, and He prays for us. As we ask God for our needs, let us ask for the needs of others around us, both family, friends, and even enemies (Matthew 5:44.) May our prayers be focused on others, as should our lives be.

Henson is a member of Meadow Grove Church, Brandon.