©Joy Dunlap https://joydunlap.com
Long lines formed at gas stations and grocery stores as people tried to fill up their gas tanks and pantries before Hurricane Florence hit. Car after car pulled up to the pumps, many with nearly empty gas tanks, and cart after cart, piled high with staples and snacks, headed to checkout lanes. Shoppers rushed to prepare for the storm.
Why do we often wait until a crisis to call out to God for a friend or loved one? Isn’t it as important to pray for each other’s spiritual needs as much as we pray for physical ones?
When someone we care for has an upsetting diagnosis or critical medical matter, it helps to know we can support and pray for – and with – one another. Prayer that cares isn’t only in crisis though. One way we can express love to those we love is by praying for a spiritual fill-up even when their health is hardy and life appears to be going well.
Let’s consider these six ways to pray for others (and ourselves!) using Colossians 1 as a guide.
- Start with “Thanks.” As we express our gratitude to God for our friends and family, we are reminded of their love and His. When we acknowledge their specific positive attributes, let’s also think about His character and connection with our lives.
- Ask God to help them clearly know His will. Even when we choose to follow God, at times we may amplify our own desires. The clamor for our wants, combined with life’s chaos, can make His directions and guidance less clear or loud. Meditating on God’s Word and communing with Him regularly contributes to our ability to tune in. As we pursue living in God’s will, we live more purposefully, confidently and joyfully! Isn’t that what we want for our friends and loved ones?
- Call out to God to help them live a life that reflects well, not only on them but also on Him. Pray they will be discouraged from actions that could pollute their lives and cause others to stumble. As we seek spiritual understanding, the Holy Spirit in us guides us in the ways to go – and not to go.
- Ask the Lord to multiply and use the good they do in ways that allow many others will see and experience His love. Oh, that our actions would plant the seeds for hearts and minds to seek His warmth and bloom in His love.
- Pray for our friends to discover deep, abiding strength through God’s power. When Hurricane Florence hit the North Carolina coast, people who counted on their own well-water weren’t able to access clean, refreshing, life-sustaining liquid in the storm if they didn’t have working electricity or a generator. When we are weakened, overwhelmed or sorrowful, we know we can count on God to supply us with what we need to function – when we trust in His power, not ours.
- Ask God to fortify them in patience and perseverance as they wait for His answers and deal with life’s challenges, not only during major, life-changing events but also in the dealings of everyday life. When we learn to trust God with the small matters, it is easier to rely on Him when the storms arrive.
When we stay “filled up” spiritually, it strengthens us to deal with crisis when it comes, plus it helps us enjoy life day to day more!
Why not start by praying this for ourselves and then for others?
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you.
We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. Colossians 1: 9-12 NIV
When was the last time you prayed for someone other than in a crisis?
Which seven (or more) friends or loved ones will you consider praying Colossians 1:9-12 for this week?
Which one of these spiritual fill-ups would you most hope a friend prays for you? Ask them today to pray it for you – or ask a group you’re in to pray this passage for one other!
Remember…Life Is Better When It’s Full – Joy-full, Thank-full, Purpose-full and Friend-full! ™