“Pray for yourself,” a pastor told his young disciple, implying that too often Christians ask for prayer but don’t pray for themselves. While I understand the lesson, this response is cold! And unbiblical at that! We are called to pray for one another and bare each other’s burdens!
An outline for this kind of intercessory prayer is found in John 17. Jesus prays for his friends, the 12 specifically. He knows the cross is before him. And he asks God to get the ultimate glory through his dying that the world may know Jesus. He asks god to solidify the disciple’s belief in the fact that God sent Jesus.
He explains how the world hates them because of evangelism. He wants them to be sanctified in the Bible. Finally, he asks God for ALL who believe through these disciples in the future. He asks them as the church to be one. He asks that they all go to heaven. And he concludes with the declaration that he will continue to make God’s name known.
When you pray for others, first ask God to become more famous through your life. This will guard against deception, for if you’re not truly following Jesus, how can your life give ultimate glory?
Second, pray that they truly are The Lord’s, that they truly believe Jesus is God.
Third, outline how they are suffering and what their needs are.
Fourth, pray for their sanctification as much as their conversion.
Fifth, pray that they are one with their spiritual and biological children; prayer ought not be short sighted.
Finally, tell God that YOU are his. Repent of sin. Declare that your life will glorify Him. If it is not and you are in sin, God has not heard your prayer.
This is in now way meant to be a traditional formula but it is how Jesus prays here in John 17. So if Jesus does it, it’s not a bad way to go!