And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” Luke 22:31-32 (NKJV)
Jesus prayed for Peter and Peter’s faith did not fail; he strengthened and he became an important leader of the early church. Peter went from notable failure to great success because of the prayers of Jesus. There is a direct tie between prayer and success. If we were interested in success we will pray and we should follow the example of Jesus and pray for other people.
You do pray for people? Well of course you do. Everyone prays for someone. Some form of “Bless Aunt Marge,” prayers are about the most common type of prayer, other than prayer just before a test in school. The question is still valid and important because there is much more to prayer that just the simple bless so and so prayers.
Man is designed, in both the physical and spiritual realms, to respond to stimuli. The physical senses are well known, they affect us constantly, it is hot or cold, the music is loud or soft, the perfume smells good or bad, the paper is smooth or rough. We often respond without thinking, we slip on a sweater, we shade our eyes, we drink some water, and we scratch an itch. This is how we are made, made to respond. We all have had those special moments when we are moved by the message, the story, the scene, or an event. Tears and emotion well up from within and even the “tough” guy among us is moved. This is one of the reasons we love movies, we want to be affected; to be emotionally moved.
The world and our flesh affect the way we live, work and play, but prayer can do more. There is pressure on people, pressure to succeed, to get rich, to marry well, and to advance and a myriad of other pressures. Pressure can work to bring out the best in us, but most pressures have a negative effect. Pressure brought by prayer can be a great positive, those skilled in prayer, those willing to work at prayer; can put more pressure on people than anything brought by the world or the flesh. What do I mean, pressure? Prayer can bring people to the place, where it is easier to yield to the Holy Spirit, than it is to resist any longer.
By the lead of the Holy Spirit, we can pray for people and pray in faith, confident that God is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all we hope or imagine. Not, “wouldn’t it be nice for John to get saved?” but, responding to direction of the Holy Spirit, prayer in faith. Prayer that knows John will respond to the Holy Spirit. This is not wistful praying, but prayer that will stand in the gap for a person, pressing in, until the answer comes. This is prayer of power, power that works in us.
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21 (NKJV)
Do you pray for people? Can the Holy Spirit count on you for this type of assignment? Have you studied in the school of the Holy Spirit, until He can speak to you specifics for prayer? Have you labored in training, by the Spirit, until you are “fit for the Master’s use?” Have you been schooled by the Father, in the school of obedience, until you are ready for His assignment? Many people talk about prayer, but most will not study, trained, nor go to school. For them prayer is just prayer, but God is looking for a few who will pray.