Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.James 5:16 ESV
Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.Galatians 6:2 ESV
In a book that I am currently reading, the author shared Anthony Burgess’ (1600-1663) statements, who was an active Westminster Puritan and preacher, on pressing upon believers their responsibility to pray for one another. Here they are:
- God has made you part of the body of Christ. If a part of your own body is injured, how does it affect you? You should have the same empathy for the body of Christ as for your own body.
- God instituted prayer as a means to help others. Instead, we are quick to criticize each other. Rather than finding fault, we should pray for fellow believers. That is our duty.
- Praying for one another will ease differences, jealousies, and suspicions. It will make the godly of one heart and one mind. If you find yourself thinking how poorly a brother has treated you, pray for that man. It will immediately “quiet those winds and waves.”
Should we pray for one another? Definitely, Yes! If you are still not praying for your brethren think about these things, and the oft-repeated call of the Scripture to pray for one another and carry each other’s burden (James 5:14-16, Galatians 6:2). Praying for one another, especially your church-mate shows your care and love for each other.
There are practically multiple ways to accomplish this. One way is to patiently ask a brother or a sister about his or her burden/s that you can pray for. If you are part of a church with covenant regenerate membership like we do, you can have a list of all the members of the church and divide the list of those you will be praying for on a specific day or week. You do not have to pray for all of them in one day. Organize your prayer, and establish a habit of praying for your brethren.
Now, if a covenant brother or sister asks what he can pray for you, be more than willing to share your burdens, for by doing so, you are fulfilling Christ’s gracious commands. Don’t simply give a general prayer list. Ask him to pray for urgent concerns, specific trouble, or your personal petitions to God. You’ll get to know more about him or her and he or she will get to know you more, and the relationship will go deeper. After all, that’s what a family does. It is your duty as a part of God’s family to know the brethren and to grow praying together.
Furthermore, do not stop there. When you meet, talk about it. If the prayer is about an urgent matter, remember it and make a follow-up. Monitor if your brethren’s prayers are already answered by God. This may be time-consuming. But that’s what mutual accountability is all about!
Another way to do this is to always be present during the prayer meetings. Don’t settle on attending a Sunday service only (though that is very important as it is the LORD’s Day). Attend the prayer gathering, and come to the throne of grace together boldly.
In an age that promotes self-centeredness, this is hard to accomplish. Sometimes, we rather choose to be alone. But as God’s redeemed children in Christ, it is both our duty and privilege. God instituted prayer that we may help each other to be closer to Him, as we trust the LORD to give us what we need.
Have you prayed for your brethren this week? Will you be willing to go out of yourself and sacrificially spend time to pray for and with your brethren purchased by the blood of Christ? May the LORD help us in this glorious task!
To God be the glory!
Reference: Beeke, J. R., & Jones, M. (2012). A Puritan Theology: Doctrine for life. Reformation Heritage Books. p. 382