When you pray for others. Jesus taught his followers to show care and compassion to others, which includes praying for them. It was a radical teaching then and applies today as well. Jesus taught us how to pray for others in Luke 11:1-13 and how it benefits us too.

When you pray for others. It helps you look beyond yourself.

Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him. (ESV, Luke 11:5)

Thinking about, caring, and praying for others doesn’t come naturally. But Jesus regularly demonstrated it in his life and taught his followers to do the same. And when we do, our own problems seem less pressing as we see them from a different perspective.

Notice the man in the story asking his neighbor for bread had none in his house. Why? Did he neglect going to the store or lacked the money to buy it? Did his guest showed up unexpectedly? And wasn’t a midnight run to the neighbor inconvenient for him too? Regardless, he was on a mission to see to his guest’s needs.

But then, isn’t that how many of life’s difficulties happen? Unexpectedly? And in this particular story, Jesus seems to be saying prayer is your first, urgent response. Not your last.

When you pray for others. Pray with bold persistence.

I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs. (ESV, Luke 11:8)

The Greek word for “impudence” is anaidĕia, which means shameless audacity, shameless boldness, and persistence. When praying for others, we are to ask boldly with selfless motives and trust God for his answer.

You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. (ESV, James 4:2-3)

We don’t know how prayer works or the reasons for God’s answers. But we know Jesus prayed regularly and tells us to do the same. Boldly and persistently. In other words, nag God with a determined sense of urgency.

Consider Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, just before his arrest and crucifixion. He knew his mission as the Son of God was to sacrifice himself on the cross for our sins. And yet, he asked God to spare him from it. If the Father had said “yes” and spared Jesus, there would be no hope for us today.

Prayer blesses you too.

For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 

We often approach prayer as presenting our grocery list of wants to God. But it’s more than that. It connect us intimately with our Heavenly Father. To confess our sins, seek his will, and align our plans as participants in his divine plan. That’s why our prayers should reach beyond ourselves to a global level. Because the more you consider God’s world mission, the better you see your place in it.

Of course, it doesn’t mean our determined persistence eventually wears God down until he says “yes.” Prayer is one of the great mysteries of God we will never understand. He answers them according to His sovereign will, not ours. We pray because Jesus taught us to. Then trust God’s goodness and faithfulness to His promise. And share in the blessing when we see Him at work.

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview. This blog is originally published here.

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