Summary: Often our prayers for each other consist of focusing on each others needs... but as vital as that kind of prayer can be, there is a more important prayer we can lift up for each other.
OPEN: A preacher by the name of Larry Davies shared that during one worship service, he asked: "Are there any prayer needs today?"
· One person mentioned a neighbor who was sick.
· Another spoke of a couple with financial problems.
· A young man asked us to pray for the family of a friend’s grandmother who recently died.
After hearing what seemed to be all the requests I said, "If there are no other needs then let us bow our heads and pray."
Shortly after beginning the prayer, I felt something tugging on my pants leg and at the same time heard a loud whisper: "Preacher! Preacher! "I ’needs’ something too!"
Still speaking, I slightly opened one eye and took a peek.
A little boy was on his hands and knees below me, tugging on my pants leg as hard as he could and earnestly whispering: "Preacher, I ’needs’ something too!"
I could hear giggling in the background as the boy continued tugging on my pants and was by now speaking loudly: "Preacher, I ’needs’ something!"
"Oh no!" I thought to myself. "In my arrogance and pride, had I ignored the needs of a small child? Maybe he knew of someone who was ill that we needed to include?" Feeling guilty and ashamed, I stopped the prayer and gently asked the young boy:
"Yes son, what do you need?"
"Preacher, I ’needs’ to go to the bathroom!"
APPLY: The Bible tells us we "needs" to pray for one another, and because we realize that… we are praying church. We have prayer chains. We have a special time of prayer during worship … AND I know that there are many who pray for others all the time.
That’s the way it ought to be. For Jesus said, "My house shall be called a house of prayer." Matthew 21:13.
We work at being a "house of prayer" And that’s what we always "needs" to do.
I. Several weeks ago, when I started planning this series on prayer I was really focused on THIS sermon.
I had all kinds of ideas on how I would present it and what types of prayer I would challenge you to do. I focused on this sermon, because the idea of praying for one another (I believe) lies at the very heart of who we are believers.
Paul wrote: "Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." Galatians 6:2
Jesus Himself sets the example for us. We’re told "Jesus… is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us." Romans 8:34
So, I went looking for Scriptures that I could use in the sermon. Scriptures that talked about praying for each other.
Scripture about praying that people would get well
Texts about praying that people would find jobs
Verses about praying for families who’d experienced loss or needed healing.
But as I went looking for passages of scripture like that I was puzzled because I only found one text that I felt could be used for prayers like that. It’s found in James 5:16 where we’re told to: "…pray for each other so that you may be healed…."
In other words, WE ARE commanded (by God) to pray for each other like we’ve been praying.. BUT most of the Scriptures that I found focused on prayers for each other in an entirely different way.
II. For example: Look at how Paul prays for the Philippians in Philippian 1:3-4
"I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy."
This passage that we’ve read this morning is the ONLY place in Philippians where Paul talks of praying for the Philippian church…
· Do you suppose that no one in Philippi was sick?
· Do you think that no one there was having family problems?
· Do you think there wasn’t anybody having financial difficulties or job problems?
I don’t think so. In fact, I believe they had problems… I believe they were just like us. I believe they had the same problems, same difficulties, same hardships.
But not once in his letter to the Philippians does Paul EVER pray for any of that
INSTEAD, his prayers for them are filled with thanksgiving and joy.
And this isn’t the only time that Paul speaks of this
· He tells the church at Colossian: "We always thank God … when we pray for you" Colossians 1:3
· And he tells the Ephesian Church: "I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers." Ephesians 1:16
And, it’s not just churches Paul prays this way for
· When he writes to Timothy: "I thank God… as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers." 2 Timothy 1:3