KEEP THE FAITH

“But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:32)
 
24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. 25 Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” (John 17:24-26)
 
16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:16-19)
There is a lot of praying for other people’s faith in the Bible. Today we will look at praying for faith in Jesus for four groups: believers we know, believers we don’t know, non-believers we don’t know and non-believers we know.
 
You may know dozens, maybe hundreds of Christians. Just like Jesus and Paul, our hearts should yearn for them to grow in faith, to pursue Him more deeply. We read in Proverbs 27:17 that “as iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another”. Let’s get into the habit of praying regularly with the people we are walking through life alongside. 
 
It is important to pray for those who have faith but we may not know personally, especially those persecuted. CSW and Release International do tremendous work supporting such believers. Pray for those underground churches and the organisations supporting them.
 
We must also pray for those who do not follow Jesus yet yet. God the Father loves the people of the world as much as He loves his Son Jesus. The Joshua Project estimates there are 17,473 people groups in the world - but 7,441 (approx 3.24bn people) are unreached with the Gospel, mainly by law or language. They need Jesus. Let’s pray for leaders, missionaries, Wycliffe Bible Translators and consider how you could support. 
 
Finally another key group of people’s faith to pray for is your lost lists - or Oikos maps. Your friends, family, colleagues you are desperate to see accept Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. Remember, you may be the only Christian they know and therefore the only Christian praying for their salvation. You may think, ‘Oh but my prayers don’t make a difference, what’s the point?’ Here are two accounts of why praying for your friends and family’s salvation is crucial:
 
1) American evangelist DL Moody had a list of 100 people he prayed for daily… by the time of his death in 1899 aged 62, 96 of them had given their lives to Christ. Not a bad return… 96 per cent! But to top it off, the remaining four all did so at his funeral. What a powerful testimony. One-hundred lives transformed because of this man’s persistent prayers. 
 
2) Another is of my friend Liz. She was not walking with Jesus but her friend who was prayed for her for 35 years before Liz accepted Jesus as her Lord. Thirty-five years. I find this really encouraging - I may only have ‘ticked off’ one person on my list so far but I trust that these prayers are not wasted. Prayer makes a difference. 
 
In his book Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster writes: “Pray for others with an expectation that a change should and would occur.” Let’s do this today and going forward - and ask the Holy Spirit to help us in this! These are great challenges. Do we pray with an expectation that our prayers will be answered?
1) Which of your Christian brothers and sisters can you pray for and with on a regular basis? Message some today and ask if they will join you in regular prayer.
 
2) Who are you praying for on your lost list - and who could you add? Make a list if you haven’t got one - digital or physical or both and commit to praying for them daily.
 
3) Who is someone you don’t know personally but could start praying for regularly to know they are loved by God? 
Lord God, I pray that You would help me to follow the examples of Jesus, Paul, DL Moody and Liz’s friend in praying for people’s faith. Lord, I ask that You would increase my faith and others’ as we pray together regularly we would see Your hand at work in people around us. Amen. 
Today’s Everyday Devotions were brought to you by Joshua Jones and Cameron Johnson, part of the Wimbledon venue. 
 
If you have time, consider carrying on your conversation with God using one of our helpful Prayer Pathways.
 
Today’s Everyday Devotions have also inspired a devotional video that you can watch on our YouTube channel.

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