Be Like Jesus–Pray for Others
“You’re never more like Jesus than when you pray for others,” Max Lucado says in his new book Before Amen. When I read those words I thought, “Wow,” then paused and asked, “Do I really feel like Jesus when I pray for others?”
Of course it’s good to pray for others. If you’re known as a praying person, people will ask you to pray.
I’ll scribble a name down on a Post It note or print out an email from someone who’s suffering from illness, loss, depression, financial troubles.
When I get too wrapped up in my own problems, it’s a relief to pray for someone else.
Just logging on to OurPrayer and reading through a dozen requests is helpful. It gives me perspective. “God,” I’ll pray, “you’ve really got to help this person because their needs are huge, so much bigger than my own.”
But how is this like Jesus? I tried to think of the times Jesus prayed for others.
The first occasion that came to mind was when He was on the cross, dying. Didn’t He pray for the criminal next to Him, saying, “I assure you that today you will be with Me in paradise?” (Luke 23:43)
And I recalled in the Sermon on the Mount how he gives us that enormous challenge, not just to love our enemies but to “pray for those who harass you.” (Matthew 5:44)
Wasn’t that exactly what He did when He prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing?” (Luke 23:34) He was praying for His enemies.
Or take the Lord’s Prayer. It’s not just “me, me, me”; it’s all “us, us, us.” It’s “Give us this day our daily bread…Forgive us…Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil…” (Matthew 6: 9) To pray it is to pray for others.
He also prayed to heal others, like the woman who had been bleeding for 12 years and touched His robe. “Daughter, your faith has healed you; go in peace,” He told her (Mark 5:34).
And then there is that extraordinary prayer He says in the Gospel of John that takes up all of chapter seven, one long prayer for His disciples and all who believe because of them, which would be us.
“I’m in them and You are in Me so that they will be made perfectly one,” He says. “Then the world will know that You sent Me and that You have loved them just as You loved Me.” (John 17:23)
It made me realize how prayer is at the heart of his ministry. I can’t preach like Jesus. I can’t heal like Him. I can’t teach like Him. But I can do this. I can pray for others.