Praying for Others before You Pray for Others

What if I told you that prayer was the best way to love others? Your thoughts would probably first go to the list of people for whom you regularly pray, those people, who, in your mind, have some prayer request or urgent need attached to them. So you might answer, “Of course I love people by praying, I regularly bring their concerns before God.” And that is an excellent practice, encouraged in Scripture, certainly satisfying the way that prayer can be a way of loving others. But there is another way that engaging prayerfully with God is a way to love others. You see, prayer changes you long before the answers to your prayers change others or their circumstances
A simple definition of prayer is, “a Christian talking to God and hearing back from him in the Bible.” Prayer is meeting with God. And whenever people meet with God, they are changed.[1] Take Moses for example. When he would meet with God he didn’t just grow in his knowledge of God and grow as a leader of God’s people but his face would actually glow.[2] It wasn’t that Moses exercised enough faith or obeyed well enough to produce a spiritual sheen on his face. Moses’s devotional life wasn’t a divine dimmer switch. It was that God impacted him, changed him, simply through the meeting. Moses’s glowing face was such an unnerving sight that Moses had to place a veil over his face as to not spook the Israelites when he left his divine meetings with Yahweh.
In the third chapter of his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul uses this historically accurate case of Moses’s light emitting but veiled face as an analogy. He says that to look at the Old Testament without seeing its culmination in the person and work of Jesus Christ was not to see it clearly, rather to see it as through a veil. However, to see Christ in the Old Testament, and all of the New Testament for that matter, is to see the Bible clearly, without a veil. Then Paul goes on to give this vivid description of sanctification: “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.”[3] Paul confirms for Christians what Moses experienced and what we’ve already asserted: Christians are changed when they see Jesus.
You should now see the simple application to prayer and love for others. Prayer is a conversational meeting with God, through Christ, governed by the Bible, the Word of God. Prayer then changes us, as we converse with the Father, through the mediation of the Son, in the power of the Holy Spirit. As we are changed more into the image of Jesus, our sanctification, we become more fit to love others. Notice I haven’t dictated what the content of your prayers needs to be—petition, thanksgiving, confession, praise, etc…—because the simple act of praying, intentionally talking to God, leaves you a different person, a more holy person.
So, my encouragement to you is to love others through the Christian practice of prayer, not just as you pray for those you love but also that by prayer you might grow into a more loving person.


[1] This applies to Christians and non-Christians. When God reveals himself to someone they are changed, either hardened or softened, but always changed.
[2] Exodus 34:29-35
[3] 2 Corinthians 3:18


Updates

  • New Members Class - We are currently accepting folks into our fall New Members Class. Our New Members Class is the best way to find out more about our congregation. Let Kristen know if you're interested in participating.
  • Next Potluck - Our next congregational potluck will be on Sunday, September 18th. Make plans to stick around after the service for some great food and a chance to get to know others in a casual setting.