If you could ask God for anything, what would it be?
So often our prayers are ‘Me-Focused’– help ME at work or help ME through a sickness. It’s MY needs, MY hurts, MY wants. Don’t get me wrong – this is an important part of prayer. Prayer is giving these things to God and asking for Him to work in our lives. But, if that’s all there is – we’re missing out on a huge part of praying to God.
Praying on behalf of someone else, someone we may not know or may never meet is called intercessory prayer. Some churches have intercessory prayer ministries, praying on behalf of people both inside and outside their church community – it may be for an individual, an upcoming event, or a specific people group. This kind of prayer is incredibly important for any church or ministry to stay connected to God and to express the love of God for others. The problem is too often our prayer ministries are more concerned with keeping sick believers out of heaven than keeping unbelievers out of hell.
Abraham wasn’t afraid to bring bold asks before God. Six times Abraham asked God for mercy on behalf of a huge city earmarked for destruction. And God agreed – if only ten righteous people could be found. Ultimately the city wasn’t saved, but don’t miss this key point: God responded to Abraham’s bold prayer on behalf of people Abraham likely didn’t know and had never met.
Turn on the news. Pick up a paper. What bold asks could you pray for in your community, city, or nation? You may not know all the names or stories, but you can boldly ask the One who does. Because, the most selfless prayer is asking God for His mercy and blessing in the lives of others. The question is – will you?