Standing in the Need of Prayer

We live every moment in God’s presence. We breathe His atmosphere, we stand on holy ground as it were—we didn’t make it, we didn’t have anything to do with how it supports us or His creation.

We pray with the Psalmist:

Psalm 107:8  8Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men!

Have we thought about taking this one step further, and seeking the prayers of one another?

Listen to the thought in this song. Here is a bond to draw us closer together during this “dry” time when we are apart.

Standing in the Need of Prayer

Hear the words, direct to each of us.

Not my father, not my mother,
Not my brother, not my sister,

But it’s me, Lord,
Standin’ in the need of prayer.

God has been so good to set Christ in the position of praying for all the children in His family, supporting, being our intercessor with the Father, in all the varied situations of our lives.

At the same time we are acknowledging our need for God and our dependence on Him for every breath, every heartbeat, every ability of body and mind. All we have is ours on loan from Him, and what a heart of thankfulness we should have! We are here standing in the need of prayer. And it is not about some sentimental feeling. It is our prayer for the lessons we need to develop and refine us, so that we can fit into His family. It is “putting off” the old, selfish nature and “putting on” the likeness of Christ. 

For help in all of this we are every one “standing in the need of prayer.

For who doesn’t want to be stronger, surer, more committed, more intense in our effort to please God—to be more sure of being approved for the crown of LIFE! As James says,

James 1:12 12Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

To receive the crown of LIFE—that is our prayer, both for ourselves and for each other.

Christ gave His own personal prayer support to Peter that last night before the crucifixion. He knew how much Peter needed it.

It was going to be the most difficult night Peter had ever experienced. Hear Jesus saying:

Luke 22:31–32  31And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan [Peter’s own nature and weakness] has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat.

Jesus knew Peter needed the sifting, the winnowing, to make him strong and full grown. Jesus offered His help:

32But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”

When Jesus said that to Peter, did Peter take in that Jesus was praying to the Father for him? Weak, stumbling Peter? Jesus knew the test would be more than Peter was ready to stand against. But Jesus knew also that Peter would in the end be stronger than ever—he would fall but fall forward. And so he prayed that his faith would not fail.,

when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”

In John 17 we find Jesus praying for all His disciples—and even on to include us at the end of the age.

John 17:6, 96“I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. 9“I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours.

Them, including us? Yes indeed!

John 17:20–21 20“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.

Jesus prays for those who “Shall believe on Me” through the apostles’ word—the New Testament. Can we imagine—Jesus praying even for US? Yes, we are called into the same family, and get the same family care.

There are many instances in the New Testament where earnest hearted believers prayed for each other. Again and again Paul was always praying for his brethren. He also felt that he was standing in the need of their prayers, just as they needed his.  It was their bond in Christ, and a vital link in the family.

Think about it—Jesus’ prayers for us and our prayers for each other are a link between heaven and earth!

When Paul was writing his letter to Philemon about his newly adopted son Onesimus, he prayed for Philemon’s family. He wrote:

Philemon 4–5  4I thank my God, making mention of you always in my prayers, 5hearing of your love and faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints,

Paul prayed for them because of their love and faith toward Christ and the believers. Before concluding the brief letter, he asked for their prayers:

Philemon 22  22But, meanwhile, also prepare a guest room for me, for I trust that through your prayers I shall be granted to you.

Paul wanted their prayers that he might be released from prison and come to visit them.

Can’t we feel what the prayer connection with the brethren did to keep their relationship on the highest possible level, far above anything sensual, even above the better interests and concerns of this world, above the idolatry and insincerity all around them?

Praying for each other put life in a different strata. It put life into a constant mode of “pray without ceasing.” It made the brethren what Paul called “strong in the Lord.” As he wrote to the Ephesians:

Ephesians 6:10  10Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.

And to Timothy:

2 Timothy 2:1  1You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

Paul prayed for God to recognize their diligent work in taking on Christ’s likeness.

2 Thessalonians 1:11  11Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power,

“Count you worthy.” Nothing superficial here, but a genuine change of behavior. Paul prayed that they might be counted worthy of their calling and of the great promises of God.

Paul also wanted them to pray for him. It was a 2-way relationship.

2 Thessalonians 3:1  1Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you,

It was as much as to say, Brothers and sisters in Christ, I need your help. Pray for me. I want to be stronger, I want more faith, I want my message to travel swiftly and come to them with power.

Again in 1 Thessalonians 1:

1 Thessalonians 1:2–3  2We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers, 3remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father,

These brethren had a noteworthy record. Notice what he was remembering:

remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father,

Faith… love… patience… hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. They were working serioiusly to take on Christ’s character likeness.

At the end of his epistle Paul added this simple prayer request:

 1 Thessalonians 5:25  25Brethren, pray for us.

Think of the strength of being united in faith, praying for each other, working together to push forward the work of God.

The same spirit of praying for one another is in the Epistle of Colossians. He mentioned both praying for the brethren and the brethren praying for him.

Colossians 4:2–4  2Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; 3meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, 4that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.

 Paul wanted their prayers that God would open a door of opportunity for more to hear the Word of God, and that he Paul would speak as he ought even if in chains.

Colossians had another noble brother praying among them: Epaphras.

Colossians 4:12  12Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ, greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.

Epaphras, a bond slave like Paul himself, voluntarily committed to serving Christ, “labored fervently” for them in prayer. The purpose? 

12…that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.

It was all about taking on Christ’s likeness. No soft sentimental feeling here but a powerful changing of one’s life, away from the world and toward Christ.

Let us have just one more passage, from the earnest author of Hebrews.

Hebrews 10:22–23  22let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.

Let this be our prayer for each other, that we hold fast to our hope, without wavering, that we may “stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.”

We are praying for you.

Will you pray for us?

When we pray, we most always end our prayers, “in Jesus’ name.” This is because our direct connection to God is through Jesus Christ.

Isn’t it wonderful to know we can go to our heavenly Father and seek help and guidance, and that we have a High Priest who takes our prayers directly to His, and our, Father? “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15). For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him” (Matt. 6:5).

Jesus warned that our prayers must be from a sincere heart, not like the hypocrites who wanted only to be seen of men. They prayed long, pious prayers that never got above their heads, so to speak. These were those for whom Jesus exclusively did not pray. “I do not pray for the world” He said, “but for those who will believe me through their words.” “Therefore do not be like them [the hypocrites].

Jesus set the example for our prayers. The Lord will not hear if we fail to follow His example which includes praying for each other in a spirit of love and compassion; of forgiveness and hope. We need each other’s prayers.

Yes, I will, and do pray for you, and am grateful for your prayers. And our prayers for one another will end with “Amen” (so be it).…according to God’s will.