A couple of weeks ago I had to go to the dentist to get tortured by Ivan-the-Pretty-Bad. He brought out the Novocain in a syringe as big as a horse’s leg and said with just a hint of glee, “Ve are goink to drill ze krater in ze tooth with ze purpose of cauzink you severe pain, and maybe ve vill also get rid of ze kavity!” Oh joy.
While Ivan-the-Pretty-Bad was drilling away (actually he’s a really good dentist that we’ve been going to for a long time), the Spirit of the Lord began to tug at my heart to pray for the church family. Honest, I am not kidding…with my lower lip feeling like it was the size of England and that horrible drilling sound going on, God wanted me to pray! So while the dentist was doing his thing and the tech person was sucking out every drop of water from my mouth with that dental version of a shop vac, I began going through the names of the church family and praying for them that God would bless and heal and restore and give direction and pour out His Holy Spirit abundantly upon them. When he was done I thought to myself, “Hey keep drilling – I ain’t done praying!”
Except for a couple of minor details, the above is true. And I want to strongly encourage you to “pray for one another.” When you focus on others and pray for them you always get through to the throne of grace. This doesn’t mean we aren’t supposed pray about our own needs…we are, and at times very earnestly (you read many, many times in the Psalms where David cried to God about his problems from the depths of his being with all the spiritual strength he could muster). But sincerely praying for others that Jesus would bless them richly does something inside of us - it helps to break the natural tendency to excessively focus upon “self” that afflicts us all.
When my wife and I visited the church in North Dakota where we had pastored in the 1980’s, one of the ladies showed me an article from the local paper that I had written in about 1988. She had kept it in her Bible all of these years. And it was a small article that dealt with this very subject of praying for one another. It was really a blessing to me to see that well-worn newspaper clipping and to see how she had underlined it and kept it for so long.
Pray for one another! Ask God to do in the hearts of others what you would want Him to do in your own heart! Remember, Job was released from the garbage dump of his circumstances when he prayed for his 3 “friends” (Job 42:10).