“Pray for us”. These words embody more than just a casual request for prayer. When spoken sincerely, they represent a deep demonstration of desire and a whole body of values captured in three simple words.
We can examine these Scripture passages (I Thess. 5:25, II Thess. 3:1, Heb. 13:18), to give a background as to what might be the needs that drove this request for prayer, so often repeated through the ages by saints and sinners alike. While I will not delve further into each request, I would like to speak briefly about three traits of the requester that these words reveal.
The first attribute we immediately see is faith. The Bible is clear that no one “comes to God” except that person believes that God exists, and that God rewards those who diligently seek him (Hebrews 11:6). Therefore, a request for prayer is a simple and powerful demonstration of faith, not only in the existence of God, but also in his ability to hear and answer prayers. People ask for prayer for different reasons, but they all have one thing in common: they at least have a tiny ray of hope that God answers prayer. And that hope or faith is what drives divine response to prayers.
Second trait this request reveals is humility. To request for prayer is to recognize an insufficiency in one’s self, and to request support from others in supplicating to God for a need. It is not a lack of faith to ask for prayer from others, rather it is a proof of faith to ask others to join you in prayer on a matter. Some people are brought to this point by grueling situations. But there are others who make it a lifestyle to agree in faith with others. This lifestyle requires humility of heart – acknowledgment of God as the all-sufficient One while we all are sheep of His pasture, children under His care.
One last disposition these words reveal is unity of purpose. We find the writer(s) using the word us in their request for prayer. Clearly, this is more than a request for a personal need. A look at the Bible verses reveal it is often a request to succeed in their service to the Lord’s people, a request that the writer and his companions certainly agree on. It is therefore with hearts full of godly desire and united purpose that those words were written – asking for prayer from God’s people that they would continue to live right and prosper in spreading the truth of God’s word.
In closing, I encourage you to be sincere and simple in asking others to join you in prayer. Emulate the examples of the apostles, who continued to put their hope and faith in God alone, who humbled themselves to depend fully on God and others helping by their prayer, and who maintained a united front in life and in prayers, even when asking others to pray for them. Do well to remember others in your own prayer, noting that prayer is not a means to advance one’s selfish desires, but a means to draw divine power to work on this earth and especially in our lives.
I Thess. 5:24-25 – He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it. Brethren, pray for us
II Thess. 3:1 – Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you
Heb. 13:18 – Pray for us; for we are confident that we have a good conscience, in all things desiring to live honorably.
Toyin Taiwo, 2020