The following is an excerpt from The Battle Plan for Prayer Bible Study, an 8-session Bible study by Alex and Stephen Kendrick, available to order from lifeway.com.
Prayers for Others
Pray that this person loves and obeys God.
If someone loves Jesus and obeys Him, so many other things will fall into place. Imagine telling your children to go clean their messy rooms. Two hours later you walk in and see them in a circle on the floor, holding hands, praying for God to reveal His will about whether they should begin. You hear them asking Him to give them the spirit of cleanliness, to equip them with everything needed to straighten up what’s so dirty and out of order.
Lofty prayers, but no submission. Rebellion wrapped in intercession. How would you react to that? You’d likely tell them to stop the performance and get busy doing what you’d already told them to do. Praying more is clearly not what they need to be doing at the moment. Obedience is.
But that’s how a lot of people handle prayer. They hide behind it. They hope it will cover for disobedience in other areas that are a lot harder and more costly to do than just praying. God keeps telling them to do things, but they keep “praying about it” with no steps of action.
A lifestyle of obedience—while not a condition that earns salvation—is a major key to answered prayer. If you have a child who listens and obeys you, and another who ignores you and rebels, to which child are you more likely to give what he or she requests? Why should anyone call Jesus “Lord, Lord” if they’re not serious about doing what He says (Luke 6:46)?
The logic couldn’t be more clear. And Jesus couldn’t have said it more plainly: “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15). We’re not saying we’re capable of always doing things perfect, but how can we argue with His statement? To not follow Him with faith and submission while claiming total allegiance is the same as saying our love for Him is a cup of lukewarm coffee at best.
Obedience matters. Not in a legalistic way. Not as a means of pride or comparison with others. But life as a follower of Christ was never meant to be a casual attempt at doing as little as necessary—just enough to get by, just enough to feel good about going to church on Sunday morning. A person who is truly in Christ is steadily moving in a direction of greater obedience to Him.
And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure … the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. —1 John 3:3,7
Excerpted from Alex and Stephen Kendrick, The Battle Plan for Prayer Bible Study © 2015 Lifeway Press®. Used by permission.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission.
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