by Grace Fox
I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, would give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him. Ephesians 1:17 CSB
I have three adult married kids. None live locally, so we stay in touch through texts and phone and video calls. I like to know what’s happening in their lives so I can pray for them. Sometimes, though, life gets busy and we don’t connect for a couple of weeks. Even when we do visit, they don’t necessarily tell me every little detail about their high and low points, and that’s okay. How, then, can I pray most effectively when I don’t know specifics about their challenges or personal struggles?
The same question applies to praying for extended family members and friends, especially those I haven’t seen for a long time. The best answer I’ve found is to pray God’s Word on their behalf. One of my favorite Bible passages to use is Matthew 22:37-40 (ESV). “And [Jesus] said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.’”
Everything about our loved ones’ well-being flows from their regard for God. If they don’t understand Him as their Creator who has a plan for their lives, then they’ll follow their own path apart from His wisdom and direction. They’ll make decisions based on what they perceive to be in their best interests, and that can prove both heart-breaking and destructive.
However, if they respond to God’s love by loving Him in return with every part of who they are, they’ll develop attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors based on His truth. Doing life God’s way brings His blessings. It doesn’t guarantee a problem-free existence, but it promises His presence and empowerment to help them through the hard times. Loving the Lord first and foremost aligns their hearts with His, and everything—values, priorities, goals, money matters and more—falls into place.
Everything about our loved ones’ well-being flows from their relationship with God, but much also depends on their relationships with others. Do they view others as people loved by God and treat them accordingly? Are they able to forgive those who offend them? Are they kind? Servant-hearted? Compassionate? Are they willing to see beyond their own needs to meet other’s needs? Can they set aside their own opinions long enough to listen and consider another’s perspective? Healthy relationships contribute to one’s emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical well-being. Therefore, I pray for those I love to learn to love others well.
Praying Matthew 22:37-40 for my children, extended family, and friends has become a daily practice. I pray it for my grandchildren, too. I don’t know the specifics of what everyone’s dealing with today, but that doesn’t matter. I want them to make wise decisions, demonstrate humility, and walk in integrity. I want them to live pure lives steeped in godly wisdom and compassion. Loving the Lord with every part of who they are and loving others as they love themselves is the key to their ability to flourish.
Unlike the generic “bless my loved ones and keep them safe” prayer I offered for years, Scripture-based prayers are rich and packed with life-changing truth.
When we use God’s Word to intercede, it becomes our weapon, and we become warriors doing battle on our loved one’s behalf.
This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
About the author: Grace Fox is a career missionary, speaks at women’s events overseas and across North America, and has authored 12 books. She’s a regular contributor to Mornings with Jesus (Guideposts), a member of the “First 5” writing team for Proverbs 31 Ministries, and co-host of the podcast “Your Daily Bible Verse.” Her new devotional Keeping Hope Alive: Devotions for Strength in the Storm is available wherever Christian books are sold. Join Grace’s FB group at www.fb.com.gracefox.author.
Join the conversation: How about you? Do you have a Scripture prayer that you pray frequently for your loved ones?