Pray for One Another
“Carry on prayer for us.”—2 THESSALONIANS 3:1.
1-3. (a) Why can Jehovah’s people confidently approach him in prayer? (b) Why should Jehovah’s Witnesses be prayerful people?
JEHOVAH is the great “Hearer of prayer.” (Psalm 65:2) Hence, his loyal servants can confidently approach him with their humble petitions and words of thanksgiving. Indeed, Jehovah’s Witnesses have many reasons to be people of prayer.
2 For one thing, Jesus Christ taught his followers to pray. He told them: “Whenever you pray, say, ‘Father, let your name be sanctified. Let your kingdom come. Give us our bread for the day according to the day’s requirement. And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves also forgive everyone that is in debt to us; and do not bring us into temptation.’” (Luke 11:2-4) That prayer rightly put God first and included personal requests. This Model Prayer also showed that our prayers should not ignore other people.
3 Jesus’ apostles also urged fellow believers to be people of prayer. For instance, the apostle Paul said, “Persevere in prayer” and, “Pray incessantly.” (Romans 12:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:17) And the apostle Peter stated: “But the end of all things has drawn close. Be sound in mind, therefore, and be vigilant with a view to prayers.” (1 Peter 4:7) What excellent counsel!
What Prayer Can Do for Us
4. What is required if the prayers of God’s dedicated servants are to be heard?
4 The noted poet Alfred Tennyson wrote: “More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.” How true! But if God’s dedicated servants are to be heard, their prayers must be directed to Jehovah through Jesus Christ in faith, must be in harmony with the divine will and must be expressed in the right manner. (John 14:6; 1 John 5:13-15) Interestingly, it has been said: “God looks not at the oratory of your prayers, how elegant they may be; nor at the geometry of your prayers, how long they may be; nor at the arithmetic of your prayers, how many they may be; not at logic of your prayers, how methodical they may be; but the sincerity of them he looks at.”—17th-century English Puritan minister Thomas Brooks.
5. (a) What can prayer do for us? (b) Concerning prayer, what question will we consider?
5 Praying regularly, with sincerity of heart, draws us closer to Jehovah. Humble, earnest prayer helps us to fulfill our preaching commission. (Matthew 24:14; 28:19, 20; 2 Corinthians 2:17) It assists us in making decisions that please our heavenly Father. Prayer also helps us to endure persecution and maintain integrity to God. (Psalm 109:3, 4; 119:86) It gives us opportunity to express heartfelt gratitude to Jehovah. And there is also prayer for one another. But concerning the latter, how can such prayers benefit us and our fellow believers?
Why Pray for One Another?
6. For whom did Jesus pray, and for whom can we therefore pray?
6 Jesus, our Exemplar, prayed in behalf of his disciples. Earnestly, he petitioned Jehovah: “I make request concerning them; I make request, not concerning the world, but concerning those you have given me; because they are yours.” Although Jesus died for the world of mankind, he did not pray for the “world” in the sense of human society alienated from God. Nevertheless, Jesus did pray for those who came out of that world and put faith in him. (John 3:16, 17; 17:8, 9; compare 2 Peter 2:5; 3:6.) In view of Jesus’ example, then, we properly pray for such godly individuals.
7. What apostolic example moves Jehovah’s people to pray for one another?
7 The apostle Paul prayed concerning fellow believers. For example, he told Christians in Ephesus: “I also, since I have heard of the faith you have in the Lord Jesus and toward all the holy ones, do not cease giving thanks for you. I continue mentioning you in my prayers.” (Ephesians 1:15, 16) Moreover, Paul did not hesitate to encourage prayer for himself and others. After urging the Ephesians to ‘put on the complete suit of spiritual armor’ and accept ‘the sword of the spirit, God’s word,’ he added: “While with every form of prayer and supplication you carry on prayer on every occasion in spirit. And to that end keep awake with all constancy and with supplication in behalf of all the holy ones, also for me, that ability to speak may be given me with the opening of my mouth, with freeness of speech to make known the sacred secret of the good news.” (Ephesians 6:11-19) This apostolic example, too, prompts Jehovah’s people to pray for one another.
8. Why is it fitting that anointed Christians and those of the “great crowd” pray for one another?
8 Jehovah’s Witnesses make up a worldwide brotherhood. The spirit-begotten followers of Christ among them have a “sharing,” or “fellowship,” with God, his Son and fellow anointed Christians. (1 John 1:3, 7; compare An American Translation.) However, Jesus indicated that all his disciples would have love among themselves, and the apostle Peter said: “Have love for the whole association of brothers.” (1 Peter 2:17; John 13:34, 35) How fitting, then, that anointed Christians and their companions, the “great crowd,” pray for one another! (Revelation 7:9) But what might well be the content of such prayers?
For Unity, Guidance and Wisdom
9. Why should we pray for the unity of our Christian brotherhood?
9 We should pray for loving unity in our Christian brotherhood. Jesus prayed that his followers might be in union with him and his Father, and Paul exhorted fellow worshipers of Jehovah to be ‘fitly united in the same mind and line of thought.’ (1 Corinthians 1:10; John 17:20, 21) A genuine spirit of brotherhood has always been the hallmark of those devoted to Jehovah. ‘How good it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!’ (Psalm 133:1-3) And one way to contribute to that unity is by praying for it.
10. Why pray for guidance and support by holy spirit?
10 We should pray that by his spirit Jehovah will guide and support the activities of his people. Some may have very difficult assignments in God’s service—things that could never be accomplished in mere human strength. So these loyal Christians, and we ourselves, need Jehovah’s help by means of his holy spirit.—Zechariah 4:6; compare Luke 11:13; Acts 8:14, 15.
11. As regards wisdom, how can we fittingly pray?
11 We can pray that our brothers will be granted wisdom from God. Paul prayed that Christians in Colossae might “be filled with the accurate knowledge of [God’s] will in all wisdom and spiritual comprehension, in order to walk worthily of Jehovah to the end of fully pleasing him.” (Colossians 1:9, 10) It is also appropriate to pray that those directing the preaching work and preparing our publications may have “a spirit of wisdom.” (Ephesians 1:15-17) Do you pray in behalf of those supervising the Kingdom-preaching work and the preparation of the publications that provide spiritual “food at the proper time”?—Matthew 24:45-47.
For Successful Preaching Despite Persecution
12. How is 2 Thessalonians 3:1 related to praying for others?
12 We should also pray that fellow believers will have success in spreading the Kingdom message. Paul urged: “Brothers, carry on prayer for us, that the word of Jehovah may keep moving speedily and being glorified just as it is in fact with you.” (2 Thessalonians 3:1; compare Ephesians 6:18, 19.) Yes, Paul asked fellow believers to pray that he and his companions might be successful in declaring “the word of Jehovah.” We, too, should pray for the rapid spreading of God’s Word and the advancement of Kingdom interests. Of course, such prayers involve others—all those zealously doing Jehovah’s will in these “last days.”—2 Timothy 3:1-5.
13. (a) What does 1 Timothy 2:1, 2 indicate respecting prayer for worldly officials? (b) For what can we pray if we are persecuted as Kingdom proclaimers?
13 Jehovah’s people can properly pray respecting worldly officials. Paul said: “I therefore exhort, first of all, that supplications, prayers, intercessions, offerings of thanks, be made concerning all sorts of men, concerning kings and all those who are in high station.” Paul’s further words indicate that these prayers ultimately are in behalf of God’s people, that is, “in order that we may go on leading a calm and quiet life with full godly devotion and seriousness.” (1 Timothy 2:1, 2) Interestingly, Jewish exiles in Babylon were told to pray for the peace of that city, ‘for in its peace there would be peace for them.’ (Jeremiah 29:7) Therefore, as Jehovah’s Witnesses, we appropriately pray respecting worldly officials so that we and our spiritual brothers may lead a calm, quiet life that enables us to carry out our commission as Kingdom proclaimers. But if we are persecuted, we can confidently pray that we and our fellow Witnesses may be granted the divine help needed to speak God’s word boldly under such circumstances. And we may be certain that those prayers will be answered.—Acts 4:29-31; 5:29.
14. What Scriptural basis do we have for praying that our persecuted brothers will receive God’s help and comfort?
14 It certainly is proper to pray that our brothers suffering persecution will receive Jehovah’s comfort and help. In the district of Asia, where the city of Ephesus was situated, the apostle Paul was ‘under extreme pressure, even being uncertain of life.’ Why, he may have fought wild beasts in an arena at Ephesus! In any case, Paul told Christians at Corinth: “You also can help along by your supplication for us, in order that thanks may be given by many in our behalf for what is kindly given to us due to many prayerful faces.” (2 Corinthians 1:8-11; Acts 19:23-41; 1 Corinthians 15:32) Unquestionably, then, we should pray that our suffering brothers and sisters may have Jehovah’s help and comfort today.—2 Corinthians 1:3-7.
15. What can we do for our persecuted fellow believers even if we ourselves are imprisoned?
15 Fellow servants of Jehovah surely need our prayers when facing persecution, distress or dangers. At such times, we may be separated from them and may be unable to help them in any other way. Why, we ourselves may be imprisoned! Yet, we can do much good by praying for our fellow believers. As long as we are alive, our foes cannot prevent such prayer. It may even be silent, but it definitely is effective.—Compare Nehemiah 2:4-6.
For Fine Spiritual Health
16. In harmony with 2 Corinthians 13:7, how can we pray for fellow Christians?
16 We can also fittingly pray that fellow Christians ‘do nothing wrong, but do what is fine.’ (2 Corinthians 13:7) Such a loving, unselfish prayer shows that we really want them to continue living in divine favor. The apostle Paul wrote: “We always pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling and perform completely all he pleases of goodness and the work of faith with power.” (2 Thessalonians 1:11) Epaphras prayed that Colossian Christians might “finally stand complete and with firm conviction in all the will of God.” (Colossians 4:12) Although such words were directed to anointed Christians, our prayers today can rightly express similar sentiments in behalf of all those devoted to Jehovah.
17. What prayers are appropriate as regards our brothers’ spiritual health?
17 We can pray concerning our fellow worshipers’ spiritual health. If some become spiritually sick, the appointed elders properly pray for them and with them, seeking to bring about their recovery. The disciple James wrote: “The prayer of faith will make the indisposed one well, and Jehovah will raise him up.” (James 5:13-16; 1 Samuel 12:18-25) In our private prayers we can mention fellow believers by name and express the wish that they remain “healthy in the faith.” (Titus 1:13; 2:1, 2) Of course, it is wrong to pray for those who willfully reject God’s atonement provision.—Hebrews 10:26-29.
Benefits of Praying for One Another
18, 19. What are some personal benefits of praying for one another?
18 We may be assured that many benefits will be realized if we pray for one another. For instance, our prayers will thereby become richer. Praying for fellow believers will undoubtedly improve our attitude toward them. Indeed, such prayers are likely to make us more patient, more unselfish, more loving, more concerned about others. Moreover, prayers for our spiritual brothers and sisters will show Jehovah that we are interested in his organization, its activities and its welfare.
19 There is great comfort in knowing that our spiritual brothers and sisters are praying for us, even as we pray for them. How wonderful to realize that our prayers for fellow witnesses of Jehovah are being heard by the “Hearer of prayer”! Therefore, to further Kingdom interests while promoting love and unity in our ranks, let us pray for one another.
What Is Your Reply?
□ Why should Jehovah’s Witnesses be people of prayer?
□ What can prayer do for us?
□ Why pray for one another?
□ Concerning fellow believers, for what matters can we pray?
□ What are some benefits of praying for one another?
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Do you pray that fellow witnesses of Jehovah will have success in spreading the Kingdom message?
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How often do you pray in behalf of persecuted Christians?