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“Will you pray for me?” is such a simple request and yet it is too often not taken seriously enough. I would like to say that I have felt the full weight of each request when someone has asked me to pray for them, but that simply is not true. Regrettably, there have been times when I have not given the plea for prayer a second thought.

Becoming Attentive to Prayer

Fortunately, my attentiveness to prayer was transformed one day when I was sitting in a hospital room after my wife’s surgery in Long Island, New York. It wasn’t like I was looking for transformation that day; I was minding my own business, reading through the Gospel of Matthew, when God opened my eyes to see a truth that in my blindness I had overlooked every other time I had read the familiar passage found in chapter 7:7-12.

Ask and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
(Matthew 7:7-11)

The Golden Rule

I am very confident that you know the next verse, and yet, you may be surprised to find it here, in this context. It is The Golden Rule: “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12).

Jesus put The Golden Rule right at the culminating point of a passage about deliberate, persistent, hopeful prayer.

So here is my takeaway from that hospital room years ago: Jesus wants us to approach prayer for others with the same intensity and hopeful expectation as we would want them to approach praying for us.

The Golden Rule can be used as a means to bring intensity and hopeful expectation to your prayers for others, especially your children, grandchildren, and the youth within our churches.