Vital signs- Sunday,September 12th, 2021
Think of somebody who irritates you—maybe somebody you’ve got a strained relationship with or who just pushes your buttons. Do you pray for that person, or do you just complain and grumble and nag and nitpick? If you prayed more for the relationship, you’d have a lot less to be negative about. It’s your decision.
Does nagging work? No. Does prayer work? Yes. Do you ever wonder why you do more of the thing that doesn’t work than the thing that does?
Paul says in Philippians 1:4, “Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy” (NLT). Paul didn’t just pray for people in his life. He prayed with joy!
Positive praying is more effective than positive thinking. All the positive thinking in the world isn’t going to change your spouse, your child, your friend, or your situation. Positive thinking can change you, but it won’t change anyone else. On the other hand, positive prayer can make a difference in someone else.
Do you want to know the quickest way to transform a bad relationship into a good one? Start praying for the other person! It will change you, and it can change the other person.
Paul even told us how to pray for others: “This is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:9-11 NIV).
From these verses, we can learn to pray for the people in our lives in four ways:
Pray that they will grow in love: “This is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight.”
Pray that they will make wise choices: “. . . so that you may be able to discern what is best . . .”
Pray that they will live with integrity: “. . . and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ . . .”
Pray that they will become like Jesus: “. . . filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.”
Pray these for yourself and anyone else in your life and watch how God turns around the relationship you thought was hopeless. Nothing is impossible with God!
If you have a strained relationship with someone, how can you include these four things in your prayers for that person?
How have you seen positive prayer change another person? How have you seen it change you?
Take a moment to look at Galatians 5:22-23. What is the “fruit of righteousness” that comes through Jesus Christ?