You are prodded awake from a sound asleep. You glance at the clock. It is 3AM. A name comes to your mind of an old friend whom you haven’t seen in three years. You have the sense that you should pray for the individual. What would you pray for?
You are rummaging through one of the drawers in your desk. You discover an old photo of seven friends camping together. You realize you haven’t heard from two of them in quite some time. You are prompted to pray for them. What would you include in your prayer?
Your best friend enlisted in the Army. You have not heard from him in three months since he left for basic training. Something tells you to pray for him, but you aren’t sure how. What would you pray?
How do you pray for someone when you don’t know what their needs are? Is it enough to say, “God bless so-and-so”?
That question prompted me to study the prayers of the apostle Paul. As he sat in prison in Rome, he was prompted to pray for the churches in Ephesus, Philippi, and Colossae. His prayers provide a model of how & what to pray other believers, even when we may not know their needs.
We can pray that they will:
- Understand who they are in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:15-23). We can pray that our friends will come to know God intimately (17) so that they will know three facts—the past call of salvation that produced hope (18a), the future inheritance that God has in his saints (18b), and the present power of God that is available to those of us who believe (19).
- Become stronger spiritually (Ephesians 3:14-21). We can pray that God will strengthen our friends in four areas—strengthened with power (16-17a), have deep roots and firm foundations (17b), comprehend the love of Christ is all its dimensions (18-19a), and be filled up to God’s fullness (19b).
- Grow more mature spiritually (Philippians 1:9-11). We can pray that our friends would make spiritual progress in love (9), pursue excellence (10a), live with integrity (10b), demonstrate good works (11a), and glorify God in everything (11b).
- Have a deep, growing knowledge of God’s will (Colossians 1:9-14). We can pray that our friends will understand God’s plan and purpose (9), and that their character will be transformed and result in a life of service (10a), growth (10b), endurance (11), and praise (12).