“Pray for One Another”
JEHOVAH is the “Hearer of prayer.” (Psalm 65:2) He always hears the prayers of those wholeheartedly devoted to him, and we can be sure that he listens when they pray for one another.
But why pray for one another? Concerning what should such prayers be offered? And what godly qualities are enhanced when we pray for one another?
Why Pray for One Another?
The Scriptures encourage Jehovah’s people to pray for one another. Prayers in behalf of others were among the apostle Paul’s petitions to God. (Colossians 1:3; 2 Thessalonians 1:11) Moreover, the disciple James wrote: “Pray for one another.”—James 5:16.
Prayers for other servants of God are effective. This is shown at James 5:13-18, where a spiritually sick Christian is urged to let congregation elders “pray over him, greasing him with oil in the name of Jehovah.” Hearing their prayer may strengthen the distressed person and convince him that God will also answer his own prayers. (Psalm 23:5; 34:18) Besides praying with the individual, the elders try to restore his spiritual health by expressing Scriptural thoughts that are like soothing oil.
James adds: “The prayer of faith will make the indisposed one well, and Jehovah will raise him up.” Yes, the spiritually sick person is likely to be helped by the elders’ “prayer of faith.” Moreover, God will “raise him up” to spiritual health if he is willing to be helped by the Scriptures. But what if the spiritual sickness resulted from serious sin? Well, if the individual is repentant, Jehovah will forgive him.
“Therefore,” says James, “openly confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may get healed. A righteous man’s supplication, when it is at work, has much force. Elijah . . . prayed for it not to rain; and it did not rain upon the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain and the land put forth its fruit.” (1 Kings 17:1-7; 18:1, 42-45) There is power in a righteous person’s prayer that is in harmony with God’s will.—1 John 5:14, 15.
Pray About What?
Any matter can be the subject of our prayers for a fellow believer. For example, Paul asked others to pray that he might have ability to speak the good news. (Ephesians 6:17-20) What if we know that someone is being tempted? We can pray that ‘he do nothing wrong’ and that God not abandon him to temptation but deliver him from the wicked one, Satan the Devil. (2 Corinthians 13:7; Matthew 6:13) And if someone is physically sick, we can ask Jehovah to give him the fortitude needed to endure his illness.—Psalm 41:1-3.
It is always proper to pray for persecuted fellow worshipers of Jehovah. Paul and his associates suffered intense persecution, and he told Corinthian Christians: “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; 11:23-27) Even if we are imprisoned, we can pray for other persecuted brothers, always remembering that Jehovah hears “the prayer of the righteous ones.”—Proverbs 15:29.
Especially should we pray for our brothers who shoulder great responsibilities within Jehovah’s organization. This includes those who direct the organization and prepare the spiritual food dispensed by “the faithful and discreet slave.” (Matthew 24:45-47) For instance, members of the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses merit our prayers, and we can pray that God grant them “a spirit of wisdom.”—Ephesians 1:16, 17.
Christian Qualities Enhanced
By praying for fellow believers, we show ourselves to be concerned, unselfish, and loving. Unselfish, loving concern for our spiritual brothers and sisters harmonizes with Paul’s point that love “does not look for its own interests.” (1 Corinthians 13:4, 5) Praying for others is one way of “keeping an eye, not in personal interest upon just your own matters, but also in personal interest upon those of the others.” (Philippians 2:4) When we make the spiritual welfare of others our concern in prayer, we also find ourselves drawing closer to them in the brotherly love that identifies Jesus’ disciples.—John 13:34, 35.
The quality of fellow feeling is developed toward those for whom we pray. (1 Peter 3:8) We have sympathy for them, sharing in their interests and distresses. In the human body, if one hand is injured, the other takes care of it and tries to allay the suffering caused by the wound. (Compare 1 Corinthians 12:12, 26.) Similarly, praying for suffering brothers and sisters develops our sympathy for them and helps us to keep them in mind. It is our loss if we neglect faithful fellow Christians in our prayers, for God and Christ do not forsake them.—1 Peter 5:6, 7.
Various godly qualities are enhanced when we pray for others. We become more understanding and patient toward them. Possible bitterness is uprooted, allowing room for upbuilding thoughts that make us loving and joyful. Praying for others also promotes peace and unity among Jehovah’s people.—2 Corinthians 9:13, 14.
Keep On Praying for One Another
Like Paul, we can ask others to pray for us. Besides praying with us, our friends may privately pray to God in our behalf, naming us, mentioning our problem, and asking that he assist us. And help will come, for “Jehovah knows how to deliver people of godly devotion out of trial.”—2 Peter 2:9.
Witnesses of Jehovah who mention us in their prayers also have trials—possibly more distressing than our own. Yet, they carry our concerns before the King Eternal, perhaps even shedding tears in our behalf. (Compare 2 Corinthians 2:4; 2 Timothy 1:3, 4.) How grateful we should be for this! In appreciation and for the other reasons just discussed, therefore, let us pray for one another.