Loving Your Neighbor Through Prayer

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 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is: Love your neighbor as yourself.  There is no other command greater than these” (Mark 12:30-31, HCSB).[1]

The above passage of scripture calls all Christians to an all-consuming  love of God that requires all aspects of an individual’s being. The second calling in this passage, is to love others as a Christian loves themselves. Both of these callings are challenging. However, for this post the second call of loving a neighbor will be the primary focus.

Loving ones neighbor is a broad subject. A Christian can show a Christ like love for their neighbors through many avenues. However, the greatest resource a Christian can offer a fellow brother or sister is their prayers. Christians do well to pray for others in church and at home, especially when someone they know is facing a difficult time.  These types of prayers are wonderful and should be a part of every Christians prayer list, but praying for others should not be exclusive to times of difficulty.

Paul provides several examples in scripture for how and why to pray for others. Paul does not only pray for people when they are sick but at all times for various reasons. 2 Thessalonians provides such examples of the diversity of the prayers of Paul.

“And in view of this, we always pray for you that our God will consider you worthy of His calling, and will, by His power, fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith,  so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified by you, and you by Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thess. 1:11-12)

“May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal encouragement and good hope by grace,  encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good work and word” (2 Thess. 3:2-5).

 “And that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men, for not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful; He will strengthen and guard you from the evil one. We have confidence in the Lord about you, that you are doing and will do what we command. May the Lord direct your hearts to God’s love and Christ’s endurance” ( 2 Thess. 3:2-5)

The scholar D.A. Carson covers the topic of praying for others in chapter four of his book Praying with Paul: A Call to Spiritual Reformation. Carson provides many great insights on this subject but a particular point resonates. Carson states “our praying will be shaped by our profound desire to seek what is best for the people of God”.[2] If Christians truly love their neighbors then certainly this will be reflected in their prayer life. They will pray for others not only in times of illness or despair but at all times with a desire to see the best for their brothers and sisters achieved in their life.

[1] Unless otherwise noted, all biblical passages referenced are in the Holman Christian Standard Bible, (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2009).

[2] D.A. Carson, Praying with Paul: A Call to Spiritual Reformation, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2014), 55.

Bibliography

Carson, D.A. Praying with Paul: A Call to Spiritual Reformation. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2014.

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