Romans 15:30-31 (ESV) I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf, that I may be delivered from the unbelievers in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints.
Paul could have commanded the believers to pray for him, but he appeals to them instead. He wanted their participation willingly and not forcibly. He did this knowing that he could have just prayed for himself. Instead he asked them to pray for him so he would be safe and effective in his ministry. He did this believing that there was power in others praying.
When We Ask Others To Pray:
1. We Become Stronger
We are not as strong as we sometimes think we are. God has not designed any of us to shoulder the burdens of life alone. When you try to do life by yourself and rely on your strength alone, you will find the journey far more weighty and difficult than it is meant to be. God has designed His people to help one another.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (ESV), “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”
2. We Become Humble
It Humbles us when we ask others to pray for us and that is a good thing. Many of us feel the need to show ourselves as someone who is in control and can handle anything life throws at us. When in reality, it is not our strength the Lord wants people to see. Instead, it is the strength of the Lord that should be on display. Do others see my strength or the strength of the Lord? This is what the Lord taught Paul about weakness and humility. It may take putting our pride aside and becoming vulnerable so we can allow God to reveal His power.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (ESV), “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
3. We Become Accountable
The Scriptures teach us that if anyone suffers, they should pray. But it goes further by linking praying for one another with confessing our sins to one another. Now that may be one of the most uncomfortable Scriptures in the Bible. But do not neglect its value. Do you have people in your life that you can trust to share your faults with? To ask them to pray for you and help keep you accountable. If you are someone who consistently struggles with the same temptation and the same failure, what you may be missing is someone to hold you accountable. We all need those people who will ask us the hard questions. When you have someone not only praying for you, but walking with you through the sins that so easily ensnare us, it can be the difference between success and failure. James makes it clear, that when we make ourselves accountable and ask others to pray, we are healed.
James 5:13-16 (ESV) 13 “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”
4. We Become Known For Love
The phrase “Love one another” cannot be found in the Old Testament. It is a new commandment that Jesus gave his disciples. Jesus said it four times (John 13:34-35; John 15:12; 17) and it appears another 8 times in the New Testament (1 John 3:11; 23; 1 John 4:7; 12; 2 John 1:5; Romans 13:8; 1 Thessalonians 4:9; 1 Peter 1:22). Our love for people deepens by praying for them. It is through prayer that the Lord will develop a burden and a care for those we are praying for. Who are you burdened for? Who are you praying for? This is one of the many ways the Holy Spirit produces more love in our hearts for one another.
John 13:34-35 (ESV), “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”