How To P-R-A-Y For One Another
How often has someone asked you for prayer and you've just not known what to do? Happens to me all the time. Feel responsible. Unable. Burden. Normal human responses and easy to shy away from it. BUT God's Word instructs us many times to pray for one another. AND person asking for prayer is asking because (1) his need and (2) his trust in you! I want to teach you HOW to pray for one another with P-R-A-Y:
P -______________ God for Who He is.
We start prayer with God praise - after all, this is how Jesus taught us to begin every prayer.
"After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name." Matthew 6:9 KJV
Hallowed means holy, hagiazo, set apart, exalted. Worthy of complete devotion. There is an aspect of perfection and worthiness involved when we think of God.
We begin our prayers there because it's important to remember to WHOM we are praying. We see this all the time with David:
“O LORD, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth, who have set Your glory above the heavens!" / "Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let Your glory be above all the earth." Psalms 8:1 / 57:11 NKJV
When we are praying for someone else, it helps us to begin this way. It changes our perspective. Rather than feeling burdened, or responsible, or unable - we change the focus away from ourselves and our limitations and direct our focus upon God and His excellence and His limitless power and love. Starting with praise raises us up into God's Presence!
R - __________________ what God has already done.
When we start with PRAISE, it also reminds us of all God has already done for us. It reminds us of WHY we pray to Him... because He IS able!
"Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits." / "I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago." Psalm 103:2 NAS / 77:11 NIV
There are two important ways to remember and we need to practice them both.
The first way is to regularly put ourselves into God's Word to remember what God has already done. We pray to the God of the Burning Bush, Who parted the Red Sea, Who provided food on the ground every morning 6 days a week and doubled the portion on the 6th day, Who led Joshua to march around the walls of Jericho seven times, Who made the sun and the moon stand still at Gibeon, Who consumed the water-drenched sacrifice at Mount Carmel, Who delivered Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from the fiery furnace, Who delivered Daniel from the den of lions, Who delivered Jonah from the belly of the great fish. If He can do that the He can surely help me and you!
"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change." James 1:17 ESV
God is the same, yesterday, today and forever! No variation. Not even the shadow of change!
The second way is to remember when God has helped us in the past. All too often we ask God for help, then He provides the help we've asked for, and then we go on our merry way - forgetting His help in our time of need. To our detriment! This is our opportunity to build up our faith! Regularly record all the times God has answered your prayer. Then when praying for someone else, remember those times. Repeat those examples. Build your faith and the faith of the one you are praying for.
A - _______________ for God to supply your needs according to His will.
Jesus made this amazing promise:
"Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it." John 14:13-14 ESV
What does "ask in my name" mean? It means to ask in accordance with Jesus reputation, in accordance with His teachings. It means to ask in such a way as to bring glory to God the Father, for this is what Jesus always did. It also means that you ask with faith, and with a willingness to do your part, and with a persistence.
"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you." Matthew 7:7 ESV
Ask seek knock: asking is verbal; seeking is with the minds and hearts, the motive, the setting of priorities, the focusing of the heart; knocking is physical movement, Christian action, the result of asking and seeking. Also note that verse 8 seems to be a repeat (For the one who asks, receives...) but it is not merely a repeat. There is a change. The verb tense in v.8 is in participle form: asking, seeking, knocking. The one who asks and keeps on asking, the one who seeks and keeps on seeking, the one who knocks and keeps on knocking - there is a persistence to the prayer that is answered.
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7 NIV
By prayer and petition. Prayer is continuous time spent in one on One communication with God. Petition is group prayer, listing out our requests. Not just a check off the list kind of prayer, But the asking, seeking, knocking kind of persistent prayer, with others always remembering and always being thankful for God's Presence. Remember that almost every time the New Testament talks about prayer, it's talking about multiple people - the you is really a "you all."
Y - _____________ to God's direction for you and others.
Again, Jesus set the example in His own prayer at Gethsemane:
"'Abba, Father,' he said, 'everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.'” Mark 14:36 NIV
It's vitally important that we include the "YIELD." Because after all this prayer is one that brings God the glory, not me the answer I desire. This prayer is not a "rub the genie bottle" and get what I want. It is ultimately a prayer that glorifies God the Father and acknowledges that His sovereign will WILL BE DONE. How do we get our minds to wrap around that?
"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:2 NIV
This is the ultimate work of sanctification. That we change our wants to God's wants, that we live our lives with God's goals, that we seek God's glory rather than our own. To test and approve God's will means that this is what we live for. That this becomes our most sincere desire for ourselves - to live according to God's will, wherever that leads us.
Some practical tips:
1. Pray immediately. Don't intend to pray later and then let it slip your mind. It's always better to pray right now, in this moment.
2. Pray with the other person, if possible. This is (1) pray immediately but also including the one who has asked for prayer.
3. Pray specifically. Ask exactly what they want you to pray for. Often we hear that someone is sick or someone is hospitalized. So what do we pray for? Healing? Good doctors? Answers? God's Presence?
4. Be the fellow praying person, NOT God! It's easy to feel like we need to speak for God or make promises (or excuses) for God. Just be the partner in prayer, no guilt, only ask, seek, knock.
5. Remember the P-R-A-Y outline. Will help you know how to organize your prayer. Will increase faith. Acknowledges Who God is!