Recently I was ranting to a friend about someone who annoys me. I explained that I can’t remove this person from my life; I just need to learn how to manage my frustration.
My friend said, “You need to pray for this person.”
What? I don’t even like this person.
But I knew immediately my friend was right. God commanded us to love our neighbors as ourselves—and if you pray for yourself, you should also be praying for others. That got me to thinking about the benefits of praying for others, regardless of how we feel about them.
Here are five reasons we should pray for others:
1. It’s hard to be angry at someone we’re praying for.
There’s something about taking a genuine prayer to God that removes anger from our hearts, even if that’s not what we’re praying about. And when that happens, it leads to reconciliation.
2. It makes us more aware of what we have to be thankful for.
When we pray for someone who is experiencing hard times or health issues, it’s natural to think about our own blessings—and it’s a good time to thank God for those blessings.
3. It gives us a chance to listen to God so we know how we can help.
Prayer is powerful and sometimes it’s the only thing we can do, but it’s also a chance to let God tell us how we can be His hands in the world.
4. It helps us actively focus on the needs of others instead of ourselves.
Praying for others forces us to think about what they need. That process can lead to us being more outwardly focused in all of our relationships.
5. When we pray for others, we are doing what Jesus did.
The Bible tells us of the many, many times Jesus prayed for others and told us to do the same.
Does God need us to pray to work in other people’s lives? Of course not. But God wants us to pray. Prayer brings us closer to God, it strengthens our relationship with Him.