I’ve often heard Christians endeavor to show care and sincerity by offering to pray for people and their situations. “I’ll pray for you,” is declared in the departing moments, as the conversation and the time together draws to a close. In many situations, though the intentions were good, there was a desire to pray for them and the situation, but in reality little amount of prayer actually was offered to The Lord, at least not in a way implied by the person offering to pray.
The Apostle Paul has never been to Rome, he has never personally met the Christians in Rome, yet he states, “For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers” (Rom. 1:9). Paul consistently prayed for Christians that he never knew. Yet most of us can barely pray for the people, close friends and family, that we know, much less those that we don’t know. What made Paul pray so faithfully and fervently for those that were outside his sphere of knowledge? Why don’t we pray like that?
Could it be that Paul understood the true power and affect of prayer? To Paul, prayer was not a nice thing that he did to make others or himself feel good; Paul saw prayer as a connection with God and a releasing of the power of God. He knew that if prayer was offered, then results would come. Being convinced of the effectiveness of prayer, he did it constantly. He knew that God worked when prayer was offered, therefore he prayed, and he prayed often. Prayer was so important that he encouraged the believers in Thessalonica to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess 5:17).
Lord, help us to grasp an understanding of the unique opportunity and powerful working of You that takes place when we pray.