Thinking About Others And Prayer
By David J. Stewart | July 2015
Philippians 2:4-5, “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.”
One of the most important truths you'll ever learn in the Christian life is to constantly think, pray and live for OTHERS. Our sinful flesh is selfish by nature. Very few Christian believers make an attempt to deliberately think about OTHERS. We are commanded by God to remember those who are incarcerated in prison, and those who are trapped suffering in a broken body. Hebrews 13:3, “Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.” This is empathy, understanding and entering into another's feelings and pain. It is a sin to be selfish and neglect to think about those around us. God does not give the fruit of the Holy Spirit to us for us; but rather, through us for OTHERS.
The Holy Scriptures nearly always mention prayer with OTHERS. 1st Thessalonians 1:2-3, “We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father.”
Ephesians 1:15-16, Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers.” Isn't that beautiful? The apostle Paul continually thought about the labors of OTHERS for Jesus Christ, and he prayed for them night and day through the Holy Spirit. Paul said that he made mention of them always in his prayers. This is how a mature Christian lives—constantly thinking about OTHERS, thanking God for them, remembering their labors in the Lord, cherishing their faith and praying for them.
What a contrast to an immature believer who spends their time complaining, gossiping, thinking about their own feelings and wellbeing. These are the shameful believers who often hurt others. Everything starts in the human heart. Proverbs 4:23, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” I have been hurt in the past by countless carnal Christians. I choose not to ponder over their wrongs; but rather, place it all into Jesus' hands for judgment, and to love them with God's unconditional love, and pray for God's will to be done in their life. My friend, life is too short to live with a burden of hatred.
Our churches are filled with immature believers. This includes carnal church leaders who gossip, attack and behave as Satan, accusing the brethren day and night (Revelation 12:10). I choose to live a life of sweet prayer, instead of a life of bitterness and grudging against those who have wronged me. If you'll focus on eternity, always thinking about the big prophetic picture in the Bible, then everything else of this world will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace in comparison. ...
TURN YOUR EYES UPON JESUS
O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
Lyrics and Song
God rewards us for doing good, not tearing down and destroying other Christians (and we're all imperfect). I'm a builder, not a destroyer! The best way to respond to a destroyer is to just keep building and let God deal with them. That is exactly what the Bible teaches in Romans 12:19. Vengeance is God's. If you know a professed Christian who continually gossips, slanders others, gets easily offended, holds grudges, has a bitter spirit, and perhaps has hurt you in the past, I apologize on behalf of that individual, and I can assure you friend that God does not approve of such wickedness.
Here is what the Christian life is supposed to be like...
Philippians 2:2-5, “Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.”
Colossians 4:2-4, “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.”
The apostle Paul was writing from prison, asking for the prayers of the church at Colossi. Paul requested that they pray for God to open a door to preach the Gospel. That was the very reason for which Paul was imprisoned, for preaching the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. We have been very blessed in the United States for hundreds of years since 1776, permitted to exercise freedom of speech, press and religion. Those liberties are quickly vanishing today because Americans aren't fighting to keep them.
In 2013, a Christian couple in Oregon who own their own bakery, refused to bake a wedding cake for two lesbians. The Godless court system fined the Christian couple $135,000 and placed a gag order upon them, forbidding them from talking with the newsmedia about the ordeal. I wouldn't want to be in that judges shoes on judgment day in eternity, and all those involved in persecuting and prosecuting that innocent Christian couple. We are quickly losing our liberties in America because we haven't been fighting to keep them. Freedom is obtained on the battlefield by blood, it is maintained by fighting to keep it, and it is lost by the generation who takes it for granted. The average American today is easily duped, as evidenced by Mark Dice's “Man On The Street Mondays” videos on YouTube.
Jesus taught His disciples not to pray a long time for personal needs, because God in Heaven already knows our every need before we even ask. Matthew 6:7-8, “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.” However, importunity in prayer is always for OTHERS (Luke 11:5-8; Luke 18:1-8), and is a matter of laying up treasures (rewards) in Heaven (Matthew 6:1-20). Why would we pray for someone else if it doesn't benefit us? That is how the heathen world thinks. But as Christians we know that we ought to pray for OTHERS because it is right to do so, and because God commands it in the Bible. God even tells us to pray for our enemies who use us (Luke 6:28).
It is a sin to neglect praying for OTHERS. 1st Samuel 12:23, “Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way.” God in His goodness promises us many rewards for praying, forgiving, fasting and laboring to preach the Gospel. God rewards all labors for Him (1st Corinthians 3:7-8). 1st Thessalonians 5:25, “Brethren, pray for us.” Prayer is labor. God rewards all labor. Colossians 4:12, “Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.” As you just read, praying is a form of work.
Notice that the apostle Paul said he is ALWAYS LABORING FERVENTLY FOR YOU IN PRAYERS!!! Paul said, “FOR YOU”!!! Paul labored in prayer for OTHERS!!! The word “fervent” means “with intense emotion.” Paul didn't just pray (what I call) “drive-by prayers.” You know, those days when you don't feel like praying and you just say, “Lord, I pray for everybody, you know all their names.” Yeah, I get that way too. We're all the same. Fervent prayer is when we concentrate on what we are requesting from God, mentioning specific names and making specific requests. Fervent prayer is time spent doing nothing but prayer. My prayers are never the same. I have a general prayer list but I often stray from it, adding a bunch more things to it. Praying begets more praying, as you will learn if you've never spent much time in prayer. I cannot tell you how many times I have started to pray, with intent to only pray for 10- minutes, and then hours passed.
And also, there are times when I pray, that I just don't know where to land the airplane so-to-speak, not sure what to pray, or I am in excessive bodily pain (my neck and radiating pain), too emotionally drained to finish what I started. One of my favorite and most comforting Scriptures in God's Word is Romans 8:26, “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” Isn't that beautiful? God helps us pray. The indwelling Holy Spirit, Who lives inside every born-again believer, makes intercession on our behalf to God the Father. It's ok to say, “Lord, I just don't know what to pray, but I pray. I desperately need and want Your Help. I love you Lord, You are so awesome and fair, good and faithful. Please help me to do your will. Please give me wisdom. I am confused and not sure what to pray or do next. Please guide my steps and help me in all that I do. Thank You!”
We have a precious promise from God in Proverbs 3:5-7, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.” Don't think, just do. The Holy Bible tells us to “pray without ceasing” in 1st Thessalonians 5:17. It doesn't say to pray if we see results. God's normal way is to make us think He's not listening to us. I have been saved for over 35-years and I've learned that God loves to work behind the scenes, while testing our faith. That is, He is answering our prayer, but in such a way that we think He's not answering it. It is only in time that we see the hand of God. A wise man once said that God's hand is seen working, not in months or even years, but in decades. Yes, I have learned that is very true. The point is to just pray, no matter what happens, just keep praying, until the Lord impresses upon your heart to stop. You're never wasting your time when you pray!!! Prayer works, one way or another, prayer works!!! 2nd Corinthians 5:7, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.”
If you are a born-again Christian, you don't have to pray at length for yourself. Matthew 6:7-8, “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.” However, God wants Christians to pray persistently for OTHERS. I deliberately capitalize the word “OTHERS” to stress the truth that we ought to think, pray and live for OTHERS in the Lord. I did not write this article just to fill up some more server space; but rather, this is how I live. I deliberately take the time to think about OTHERS, and then I am compelled to pray for them. If we are to pray for OTHERS, then we must first think about OTHERS. I am in constant agonizing toothache-like neck pain, which humbles me, compelling me to pray for the Lord's soon return, and desiring the end of this life, in God's appointed time. Philippians 3:21 promises every believer a new body fashioned like unto the Lord's resurrected glorified body. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!!!
Living for OTHERS means little if we don't preach the Gospel to them. There are many charities throughout the world, but they do not preach the Gospel. Tragically, the Salvation Army has become more army than salvation. What once started as an army of public soul-winners in 1865, has now deteriorated into a private social club in 2015. William Booth would have a heart-attack if he saw the Salvation Party today. And his staunch feminist wife, Catherine Booth, what a shameful woman. Hey, but at least the Salvation Party owns plenty of vacation real-estate in Hawaii. What a sad organization. And worst of all, they teach Calvinism.
I am speaking about a Christian living a life of thinking about others, just as Jesus did. I work relentlessly through my humble website ministry to help others in the Lord. Only Heaven knows how many souls have been saved since 2002 when God began this labor of love in my heart. Our text passage says, Philippians 2:4-5, “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” What mind (mindset) are we supposed to have? ... We are to look upon the things (needs, burdens, wellbeing) of OTHERS. Literally, we are to be considerate, continually searching for opportunities to do good, prayer for and helping OTHERS. Every believer ought to desire to make a difference for God in the lives of OTHERS, and to let the love of God flow through us. This is the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
We Ought Spend Most Of Our Time Praying For Others
I wrote this article because I think a lot of Christians errantly view prayer from a selfish viewpoint. Dr. Jack Hyles once said that if he could teach his church congregation any one thing besides salvation, it would be to “GET OUT OF THE SELF LIFE!” That's godly advice for every Christian. Let's look at our text verses again... Philippians 2:4-5, “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” The Bible wonderfully teaches that Jesus lived for OTHERS. The Lord wants us to pray for our daily needs, as evidenced in the example prayer that He gave in Luke 11:1-4.
Although commonly called “The Lord's Prayer,” it is really “The Disciple's Prayer.” Since Jesus is sinlessly perfect (Hebrews 4:15; 2nd Corinthians 5:17; 1st Peter 2:22), it would not make sense for Him to pray “Forgive us our sins” in Luke 11:4. Clearly, the Lord intended for us to pray by following this example. Yet, Roman Catholics mock God and show their woeful ignorance by quoting it repeatedly word-for-word, which is not what the Lord intended for anyone. If a tour-guide with polio says, “walk this way,” and he limps due to his illness, he doesn't mean for you to limp along with him. Every time we pray, it ought to be unique, a fresh painting on the canvas of God's grace. Catholics mock God by reading prewritten prayers. Do you know why they have to read prayers? It is because they do not have the indwelling Holy Spirit in them. Catholics are not born-again Christians!!!
That's why at U.S. Presidential Breakfasts, prayers are read from a prewritten script. It's all phony, because none of them have the Holy Spirit indwelling them. Jude 1:20, “But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost.” Did you read that? The Bible speaks of “praying in the Holy Ghost,” not praying in the flesh. This is what Jesus meant in John 4:24 when He told the Samaritan woman, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” It is my heart's desire that you would join me in spending more time praying for OTHERS, and less time thinking and praying for ourselves. This is what pleases God, as evidenced by our text passage from Philippians 2:4-5. If we save our life selfishly, we won't be rewarded in Heaven.
Daniel 12:3 teaches that they who turn many to righteousness, that is, the imputed righteousness of God, will shine as the brightness of the stars for ever and ever. Daniel 12:3, “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.” The reason why is obvious, that is, because those whom we win to Jesus Christ (by God's grace) will love and appreciate us throughout eternity. God works through submissive believers to reach the lost with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. If we don't “GO,” as commanded in The Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20, then the lost won't get saved.
How shall they hear without a preacher? Romans 10:14, “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” What are you doing friend to get the Gospel message to lost sinners? The window of opportunity is closing further each and every day. If you are not saved, please believe the Gospel right now. If you are saved, time is running out, please get busy serving God (MP3 by Pastor Jack Hyles). Heaven will be filled with sorrowful believer's who spent their time down here on earth parked in front of the television, listening to the same worldly songs thousands of times, having lived-it-up, but never having lifted a finger to get anyone saved, pray, give or help anyone in Jesus' name.
And I can't stress enough the importance of using only the uncorrupted King James Bible, and teaching the simplicity that is in Christ. Those churchgoers who fall prey to Lordship Salvation won't be in Heaven at all, because it is a false plan of salvation (Matthew 7:21-23). I labor by God's grace, through continual prayer, to warn OTHERS about false doctrines, false religions and Satanic deceptions. I labor intensely to preach THE TRUTH. I do it for OTHERS in Jesus' precious name. I don't know how much time that I have remaining, because none of us knows what tomorrow may bring (Proverbs 27:1), but I feel the same as the apostle Paul who said, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). Even so, come, Lord Jesus.
Lord, let me live from day to day
In such a self-forgetful way
That even when I kneel to pray,
My prayer shall be for others.
Others, Lord, yes, others;
Let this my motto be.
Help me to live for others
That I may live like Thee.
love God who doesn't love sinners!”
(a quote by Dr. Jack Hyles classic MP3 sermon, “The Happiest Man” (happiest is the man who will not impute sin to others!)
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