Does your mind wander when you pray?
Praying alone in a quiet place can be a relaxing activity. In fact, it can be easy to doze off. When Jesus prayed in Gethsemane the night before his arrest, he asked his disciples to watch and pray with him. They fell asleep . . . 3 times.
Being informed can make us alert. What if Jesus’ disciples had known that an angry mob with torches and clubs was coming to take Jesus away by force? I doubt if they would have fallen asleep!
The Bible urges us to be alert in prayer: “With every kind of prayer and petition, pray in the Spirit at all times; and to get this done, be alert by using all perseverance and prayer for all believers, and for me, that a word will be given to me when I open my mouth to boldly make known the mystery of the gospel” (Ephesians 6:18-19).
Persistent prayer for all believers is one way to stay alert in prayer. Pray for all Christians everywhere, those you know and don’t know, those you like and don’t like, those in your local church and not, those in your denomination and not, those in your country or culture and not. That’s a tall order!
There are tens of millions of Christians around the world, we cannot know each one personally. Instead, we must learn what we can about believers in faraway places so that we can pray for them.
God’s Spirit may stir in us a special interest for certain communities or circumstances. For instance, we may have a special compassion for persecuted believers.
Then it says, “and for me,” that is, pray for me. In addition to praying for all believers everywhere, we should also pray for individual believers we know personally.
But what about people who have not yet been saved? Shouldn’t we pray for them?
When Jesus saw crowds of folks looking like sheep without a shepherd, he had compassion on them. He urged his followers to pray to God, not for the lost sheep, but for believers to do the gospel work.
In the instruction above, the writer asks his readers to pray that he will be bold in making known the mystery of the gospel. A mystery in the Bible is not something that is difficult to understand. It’s something impossible to know until it is revealed. The gospel is the revelation about Jesus, that he died and rose again so that we can be forgiven and have eternal life.
The best prayer for lost people is prayer for saved people to be bold and share the gospel. We need prayer for boldness to witness because our natural disposition is to keep quiet about the gospel. Telling others about Jesus requires the inspiration of God’s Spirit.
Pray for God to give you the same concern for others that Jesus has. Compassion for others will keep you alert in prayer.
May the God’s Spirit inspire us to share in his great harvest,
Brother Richard Foster