When we approach God we come in sincere faith and by faith believe our prayers have an effect. “The heartfelt supplication (prayer) of a righteous man exerts a mighty influence.” (James 5:16, Weymouth) Jesus prayed generally for the Church. (See John chapter 17.) He also prayed specifically for Peter in the hours before he betrayed Jesus. “…Satan hath desired to have you that he may sift you as wheat; But I have prayed for you, that your faith fail not; and when you are converted, strengthen your brethren.” Luke 22:31, 32
In Acts chapter 12 we have the story of Peter’s imprisonment. The church specifically prayed for him. Acts 12:5, “Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.” It was God’s will that Peter be released and continue helping the church. But in verse 2 of this chapter we are told that Herod killed the Apostle James. It was God’s will that one should live and the other should die. We are mere mortals and have a limited view of God’s will. We need to trust and take Him at His word. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts…so shall my word be that goes forth out of my mouth it shall not return unto me void but it shall accomplish that which I please and it shall prosper in the thing where I send it.” Isaiah 55:8,11
There is no lack of God’s power and assistance for any of His people, whether we pray for them or not. If we pray for the Lord’s will to be done, and we watch the experiences of others and ourselves, it helps our faith grow. Prayer helps us to get in harmony with God’s will. If we pray for a specific situation we will especially watch.
Prayer helps us grow in our love for one another when we pray for them. We are essentially saying, “I will help where I can, but God can help in ways I can’t.” We, Christians, need each other. Even the strong Apostle Paul asked for the prayers of others. “Brethren, pray for us.” 1 Thessalonians 5:25
However, whenever we approach God in prayer, we should always keep in mind the attitude of our Lord Jesus, “not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39