A week ago, I called to check up on my dad in Ghana. In conversation with him, he asked me, “how is the church ministry going?”. My response was, “it’s going well by God’s grace”. He then said he was glad to hear that, because he has been praying for me and The Life Church Maidstone. At the end of the call, I came away feeling quite blessed, knowing that there are people out there praying for me and the ministry I have been called into.
As believers, we may go through seasons in our faith where we may struggle to pray or keep up with the spiritual disciplines, but it is a great comfort and blessing to have someone lifting you up in prayer in those moments. We may never know the extent to which those prayers have helped us. We may not know what doors may have been opened or attacks averted because someone prayed for us. James therefore urges believers to confess their sins to one another and to pray for one another, since their prayers have great power at work (James 5:16).
On the other hand, there are many people out there who have no one praying for them. People who are carrying burdens, dealing with guilt and shame, fighting a losing spiritual battle, and facing numerous challenges in their lives with no spiritual intervention.
Paul reminds us of our duty to pray for such people, when he said to Timothy, “I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them” 1 Timothy 2:1 (NLT).
Often, we assume that the ‘all people’ referred to in the passage are other believers or those explicitly mentioned in the text, such as kings and people in position of authority. However, the ‘all people’ also refers to the drug addict on the street; your neighbours who are having marital issues by their constant fighting and arguments; the young boy confused by his identity; the schoolteacher who looks drained after only a week at work. The ‘all people’ refers to anyone you sense needs prayer. Most importantly, the ‘all people’ also refers to the lost who are in need of salvation.
It is my prayer that as a church, we will carry a righteous burden with a sense of duty to pray for others, and to seek the salvation of those we come across.