As little ones, my sister and I didn’t always get along very well. We were often at each other’s throats or trying to get the other one in trouble with our parents to avoid our own punishment. There were a few times, however, that we attempted to save the other from impending punishment.
I remember sitting at our bedroom door one day. I stuck my finger under the door telling my dad over and over again that she “didn’t do” what ever it was. I knew she was guilty, but that I didn’t want her to face punishment. I wanted her to be shown the grace I might want in that moment.
While my sister and I are beyond the years of parental punishment–well almost for her–my memories of our childhood reminds me of the way we are called to intercede for our brothers and sisters in Christ. You see, I understood that my sister and I shared a bond no one else in this world could hold. At that point, I stopped having a selfish desire to see her ‘get what she deserved’ and began desiring that both of us would not only be shown grace in punishment but that we would learn from that grace. The more I mature, not in age but in Christ, the more I realize that these are feelings I should hold not only for my sister by blood but my siblings by the blood.
My greatest weakness in my prayer life is neglecting to pray for my brothers and sisters in Christ.
I tend to get distracted by my own needs or desires, I grow lazy in remembering what people ask for prayer for, and when I’m feeling really sinful, I purposefully neglect to pray for a brother or sister who has hurt me.
This year, I want to use 1 Thessalonians 3 to get me out of these habits.
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Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.
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Pray we might be together.
As believers, our first desire should be to be with one another. Think about it. If the Holy Spirit lives within a child of God, spending time around them is one way we can draw close to Him. Had He only intended for our relationship with him to be vertical, the New Testament would be completely different. Each book commands us to love one another, to admonish one another in times of weakness, and to encourage one another in times of plenty.
Pray that wherever we go, The Lord provides us with another person who earnestly loves Him. My very favorite thing about being married is just that: having someone around all the time who loves Jesus even more than I do. I want that everywhere. I want not to neglect to surround myself with unbelievers I can share with, but rather, to have someone whom I can partner with in my sharing.
Pray for increased love for one another.
Intentionally loving believers can be hard. I will be the first to admit that I struggle with it. It’s like I get in my head that when a believer’s sin affects, I should take it personally. They should be better than that, right?
While I am absolutely called to hold brother and sisters in Christ accountable, harboring resentment cannot be an option. Ever. Daily, we need to pray that our love for one another is increasing. We must remember that the battles between humans are not battles of the flesh, but rather, they are battles of the spirit, seeking to tear down the Kingdom of God.
Pray for grace.
When Jesus hung upon the cross, He pleaded with His Father to forgive the people who were hurting Him, spitting in His face, making a mockery out of His ministry. Although He–as God Himself–had every right to ensure they would be cursed for eternity, He chose to pray for grace.
If Jesus prayed this for enemies of God, should we not pray it all the more for His Children? If I see a brother or sister falling, my first response should not be to go submit it as a (gossip) prayer request. It should be to fall on my knees and pray that God will show the grace of displaying their sin to them that they and myself might be able to advance to the next degree of glory (2 Corinthians 3:18). Is that not how we would want someone to respond to our shortcomings?
Pray for Jesus’ coming.
Right now I am listening to the words, “We sing hallelujah, we sing hallelujah, we sing hallelujah, The Lamb has overcome” play over and over again. My friends, if Jesus lives within you, if you have submitted your life to Him and Him alone, we will FOREVER sing hallelujah at His feet by one another’s side. Tears are welling up in my eyes at the thought that my Papa is up there right now singing. My friend Clay has His hands raised toward my sweet Jesus. My Nana has been rid of her mental illness and is worshiping her creator. My best friend’s dad, Jeff, and my family friend Ben are both cured of the cancer that ripped them away from their families and they singing to their Father. I could go on and on and on of the joy that is going on right now at the feet of Jesus. We get to be part of that one day brothers and sisters.
Above everything, let us desire for the day when every one of His children spend eternity in worship. This year, let’s pray earnestly for His coming. Here is the coolest part of that prayer. We know that He will not come back until every nation and tongue has heard His name; therefore, an earnest desire for His return is synonymous with the eager sharing of His name.
He could come back this year. He could wait fifty or one-hundred years. Our desire has to be the same either way.
This year, let’s join in praying for one another earnestly. Let’s not only pray for our own needs, but the spiritual needs of the friends and family who will spend eternity by our sides. Let’s pray for those who don’t know Him yet, that they may soon be our brothers and sisters. Let’s reframe the way we look at and pray for one another. We are not just people who happen to hold the same beliefs. We are held by the same Father.