In 1 Timothy 2:1-2, God tells us to offer prayers, supplication, intercession, and giving of thanks on behalf of all men. Yet we sometimes neglect to pray for others because we concentrate so much on our own interests.
1Ti 2:1-2 ESV
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.
How often do we think to pray for others, whether or not they request our prayers? Throughout the scriptures, prayers are offered and filled with requests and thanksgiving for people other than the one offering the prayer.
Consider some groups of people for whom we should pray:
- Rulers: 1 Timothy 2:1-2; Ezra 6:10; 1 Chronicles. 29:19
- Children & Family Members: Our spouse, relatives, friends etc, – 1 Chronicles 29:19. Matthew 19:13-15; Genesis 25:21-22; Genesis 24:12-14; Genesis 18:23-33; 1 Samuel 1:10-12; 2 Samuel 12:15-16; Luke 1:13
- Lost Sinners: Romans 10:1-3; 1 Corinthians 10:32-33
- Enemies & Persecutors: Luke 6:27,28; Acts 7:60; Luke 23:34
- People Sick & Suffering: 3 John 2; James 5:16; Numbers 11:2; 2 Samuel 12:15-16; Genesis 20:17,18
- Elders, Deacons, Preachers & Teachers: Ephesians 6:18-20. Colossians 4:3-4; Acts 4:25-29; Acts 6:6; Acts 14:23; Acts 13:3; 1 Thessalonians 5:25; Matthew 9:36-38; 2 Thessalonians. 3:1-2; Hebrews 13:18
- All Christians: Ephesians 6:18; James 5:16
The scriptures reveal multitudes of examples in which men of God interceded on behalf of God’s people. Here’s a few of them:
- Moses: Numbers 11:2; Numbers 21:7; Deuteronomy 9:18-20, 25-29; Exodus 32:9-14,31,32
- Samuel: 1 Samuel 7:5-11; 12:19-25
- Solomon: 1 Kings 8:22-54
- Ezra: Ezra 9:1-15
- Nehemiah: Nehemiah 1:4-11
- Daniel: Daniel 9:3-20
- Jesus: Luke 22:31,32 (for Peter); John 17:9-22 (for all believers). Luke 23:34
- Peter: Acts 8:24 (for Simon)
- Epaphras: Colossians 4:12
- Paul: Colossians 1:3,9-14; Romans 1:9-12; Ephesians 1:15-19; Philippians 1:3-11; 1 Thessalonians 1:2; 2 Thessalonians 1:11,12; 2:13; 2 Timothy. 1:3
Note that most examples were prayers, not just for God’s people in general, but for specific individuals or congregations.
Are we showing this same kind of personal concern for others in our own private prayers?
Furthermore, notice that the Apostle Paul openly told people, he was praying for them. 1 Thessalonians 1:1-2. If we would do this, it would motivate us to be more diligent to pray for others, but it would also give Christians a greater sense of love, concern and appreciation for one another.