Prayer | Let us pray for one another

Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with. (James 5:16, MSG)

I’m sure I’m not the only person who finds these words, or at least the way they can be used, difficult at times. In the public sphere we too often see Christians praying for domination over others, for the eradication of queerness, for violent military successes, for personal wealth, even for the overturning of election results. Even in our own circles, the conviction with which some people insist that they know God’s will and that their prayers must and will be answered is unsettling.

Yet I don’t think James is thinking about prayer in a dominating way. Jesus doesn’t exert power over people. Instead, he comes alongside people and uses his power to minister, heal, equip, comfort and serve. Therefore, someone living right with God will not seek to dominate, eradicate, or silence others, nor will they seek to manipulate God or others to act in certain ways. Instead, those who live right with God will, like Christ, seek only to do God’s will: and this means their prayer will be Christlike. It will minister, heal, equip, comfort and serve.

Such prayer is located not in human ego, but in the spirit’s flow; and so it has the hallmarks of the fruit of the spirit. By this I mean that it is gentle, not violent; humble, not arrogant; peacemaking, not conflict-generating. It finds its deepest expression not in certainty but mystery. It calls for truthfulness; it requires trust; it promises joy. In all things, it reaches towards love and seeks healing and wholeness for all.

In this spirit, then, let us pray for one another. Let us pray when we are sick, struggling, or facing a difficult situation; let us pray when we are finding it difficult to build or mend a relationship; let us pray for healing. And let us pray for one particular person each day, not necessarily knowing what they need but bringing them tenderly before God and trusting God to know.

To this latter end, we here at Sanctuary send out a list of names to pray for day-by-day. The list includes regular attenders, both locals and those who live long distances away but are part of our Zoom congregation. It also includes household members and others who have an ongoing connection to Sanctuary. Few of us know everyone on the list, but all of us are invited to pray for each and every person. Regulars have received this list in their inbox. If you are not a part of Sanctuary, why not make your own list? Look around your community and your neighbourhood, scribble down a list of names: then day by day, take a moment to centre down, remember that person, and pray.


Emailed to Sanctuary 1 March 2023 © Sanctuary, 2023. Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash. Sanctuary is based on Peek Whurrong country. Acknowledgement of country here

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