Interceding for Others: Six Ways to Pray for a Loved One in Need
By Dr. Charles Stanley
You and I can always go to Jesus in our time of need. But what should we do for a friend or loved one going through a crisis? How can we pray for someone God has brought to mind, even if we don’t know the exact details of their situation?
In Colossians 1:9-12, Paul includes a powerful prayer for his fellow Christians. His example gives us six ways to intercede on another person’s behalf:
1. May my friend be filled with the knowledge of the Lord’s will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding (v. 9).
God is ready to show us exactly what to do in any given situation. As Psalm 32:8 says, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.” You don’t have to say, “Show my friend Your will—if it’s Your will.” His promise to do so is sure and clear. Ask the Lord to give your loved one spiritual discernment and clear direction about His desires.
2. May my friend walk in a manner worthy of the Lord Jesus Christ and please God in all respects (v. 10).
If a person is a believer, then he is called to emulate the life of Christ—his words and behavior should match the character and attitude of Jesus. Pray that your friend would recognize the great privilege of being part of God’s kingdom. If he does not know Jesus as his Savior, ask the Lord to make Himself known in your friend’s life, so that he would become a child of God and give glory to the Lord through obedience and repentance.
3. May my friend bear fruit in every good work (v. 10).
Being busy doesn’t always mean that we are also being fruitful. Pray that your friend will wisely invest his time and resources for the sake of God’s kingdom—to have an eternal impact rather than a temporal one.
4. May my friend increasingly grow in the knowledge of the Lord (v. 10).
We all have a spiritual hunger that only God can satisfy, though we might try to quench it with other things. Nothing can take the place of a healthy relationship with the Father. Finding spiritual fulfillment is possible only through reading, applying His word to our lives, and observing the results. Pray that your friend will have a hunger for God and seek Him through Scripture.
5. May my friend be strengthened with all power, according to God’s glorious might (v. 11).
If you know someone going through a crisis, don’t stop praying for the power of God to work in his or her life. On behalf of your friend, ask God to provide strength to remain steadfast in the truth, regardless of the circumstances. Keep praying for the person to be empowered to do His will, for His glory.
6. May my friend express joyous gratitude to the Father for His grace (v. 12).
It can be a challenge to remain thankful when we’re experiencing unpleasant circumstances. In order to steal our joy and diminish our witness, Satan often uses times of difficulty to bombard us with destructive thoughts, Pray that your friend will have a thankful heart and share gratitude with others as a testament to the good work of God in his or her life.
As Christians, we are connected to the One who has authority over all things, knows all things, and loves us unconditionally. And He wants to hear the desires of our hearts and give us wonderful blessings. If we come to Him asking for wisdom and the strength to walk in His ways, He will answer our prayers.
Think about somebody whose life you want to impact for eternal good. Spend time each morning petitioning God to work in that person’s life, according to Paul’s example. You can also ask someone to pray for you in this way. Then, as you intercede for others, you will begin to see God change their lives and experience the blessings of His good work.
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