Did you know that you often leave an important part of your relationship with God behind when you leave the Sunday bulletin in the pew after the service? During the service, we offer a brief “blanket” prayer for those who have asked that we intercede with the Lord on their behalf. But that prayer is indeed brief. God wants us to pray for others because intercessory prayer reflects God’s own character of outgoing love and mercy. God wants us to think like He does, and praying for others helps us to think beyond ourselves and to grow in compassion for others.
We cannot pray honestly for someone else without, at the same time, growing in compassion toward that person in particular, and indeed, toward all suffering people. Through honest prayer, we become more like the God to whom we address those prayers. We also focus outward, rather than always looking inward, in asking for love and joy and peace and patience and healing and all the fruit of God’s Spirit for His followers.
This Sunday, consider taking the bulletin home with you. Take five minutes during the week (or more) and offer brief (or more detailed) prayers for each person who has a need. Do this on a regular basis, and see what benefit this can have for you, as well as for others. And may the Lord work wonders in your life!