The Effective Prayer

“The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.”James 5:16

“We have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will.”Colossians 1:9

I’m sure that many of you, like me, made a commitment (goal, resolution, etc) to spend more time with God and with His people in the new year. Well, great commitment. How will you be praying in the new year? Something to think about is that we will probably have only mediocre results from mediocre and haphazard prayers. One thing the early church could count on was that they were being prayed for. As disciples we pray for and are being prayed for; do you find that comforting? You should!

When Paul writes letters to individuals and churches, he routinely mentioned his praying on their behalf. Read through these passages in scripture and find out how Paul and others prayed for their brothers and sisters in Christ. These will give you some inspired ideas about how you can pray more effectively for fellow disciples around you and for disciples around the world.

Romans 1:9-12Ephesians 1:15-19
Philippians 1:3-11Colossians 1:3-4; 9-14
Philemon 4-71 Thessalonians 5:17; 25
Hebrews 13:182 Thessalonians 3:1-5
James 5:162 Thessalonians 1:11-12

Paul was relentless in praying for his fellow Christians, some he personally knew and some he had only heard about. This is useful as we pray for those in our own church and for disciples around the world, whom we have never met. Here is how Paul describes the intensity of his prayers on behalf of his fellow saints:

  • Unceasingly I give thanks for you
  • I thank God for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world.
  • I always offer prayer with joy for you all
  • I have you in my heart; I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.

Now, here are some of the specific prayers Paul gave for his fellow disciples. Using these as guidelines for praying for one another can make our prayers for each other more effective:

  • That we may be encouraged by each others faith
  • That your faith grows even greater
  • That your love for one another grows even greater
  • Praise for your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ
  • That the fellowship of your faith may become effective
  • That the hearts of the saints be refreshed through you
  • To increase in the knowledge of His will in spiritual wisdom and understanding
  • That God may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him
  • That the eyes of your heart may be enlightened
  • To learn steadfastness and patience
  • That you will know the hope of His calling, the riches of the glory of His inheritance
  • To know the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe
  • To be filled with the knowledge of His will in spiritual wisdom and understanding
  • To be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might
  • That you are partakers of grace with me
  • That you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless
  • That you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, that God will count you worthy of your calling
  • To bear fruit in every good work
  • To be filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ
  • To have the knowledge of every good thing which is in you for Christ’s sake
  • Knowledge He chose you
  • You receive the word with the joy of the Holy Spirit—retain that joy
  • That God would fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power
  • To joyously give thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints.
  • To become imitators of the Lord
  • Maintain your example to all the believers
  • For your participation in the gospel
  • That the word of the Lord sound forth from you, not only (where you live), but also in every place your faith toward God has gone forth
  • That the Word of the Lord will spread rapidly (throughout the world) and be glorified, just as it did with you
  • That the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in you, and you in Him
  • We have confidence in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do what the scriptures command
  • That you will be rescued from perverse and evil men
  • To remember, the Lord is faithful, He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one
  • To confess your sins to one another
  • To pray for one another so that you may be healed
  • That you pray without ceasing (or giving up)
  • That you pray for others to have a good conscience, desiring to conduct themselves honorably in all things.
  • That you will be considered worthy of the Kingdom of God, for which you are suffering.
  • That He who began a good work will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus

My prayer for you in this new year is that you would be relentless in praying for others; praying for their successful and fruitful walk with Christ; for their ministry in the world in the name of Jesus Christ.

Let me give you a practical:

The only way you are going to get good at prayer is if you do it daily, so do it daily!

Now that you have begun to pray these things on behalf of other disciples, begin to pray the same list on your own behalf.

For your good and His glory,

Eric