Editor's note: Join disciples around the world in January as we devote ourselves to prayer and action. Each day, Disciples Today will publish a devotional from 31 Days of Prayer by Daniel Berk. Follow along on Facebook with your comments and prayer requests. We look forward to an amazing year as we seek God together!
Scripture"For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe." – Ephesians 1:15-19 (NIV)
This scripture is packed with so many things for us to learn from. Paul has been praying for the church in Ephesus ever since he heard of their faith. What person or group of people have you prayed for this consistently? Do you know the faith of those close to you in your life?
For me, praying for other people is also a call to know others more intimately. Can I pray for a person I know nothing about? Sure, I can. And we should. But how much more specifically can I pray for a person who has needs that I am completely aware? These kinds of prayers require us to know the faith of others, and to have the faith of how our prayers can help to strengthen them.
Paul "keeps asking" that God gives the church in Ephesus the Spirit of wisdom and revelation. The consistency of our prayers for others can assist in shaping who they become in Christ and how they grow in the power of the Spirit.
Paul prays that "the eyes of [their] hearts may be enlightened." This is such an illustrious prayer. We can pray for others to know the hope of God. We can pray this for Christians and non-religious people alike.
We must have faith that our prayers can change our own hearts and the hearts of others.
Today, choose five people that you will contact in order to pray for their specific needs. Tell them you want to begin praying for them, but you aren't sure what prayers they might need. Invite them to share their hearts with you, and ask that they be as vulnerable as they choose. You might decide to ask five people you're close to, or five people you don't know well. They might be Christians or perhaps someone who doesn't believe in God. You might text them or call them. Your prayers are powerful, and often times a person is uplifted beyond what our naked eye observes when they are told someone is praying for them. Allow this challenge to continue to shape your prayer life, and give it a chance to also form a newer, deeper relationship between you and the people you decide to pray for.
Perhaps this challenge will be the first step in someone you're close to giving his or her life to God. We never know what God might decide to do through our prayers.