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Praying for the Right Things

Praying for the Right Things by Jim and Elizabeth George

Paul knew the importance of strategic prayer in his own life and the lives of others. And he knew what to pray for. His prayers focused on spiritual issues. He knew that if those he was praying for were spiritually mature, they could handle anything.

We, however, sometimes have it backward. We pray about physical matters, not realizing that the real battles are fought in the spiritual realm, not the physical. That’s why Paul stated that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood” (Ephesians 6:12). That’s also why Paul urged believers to take up the full spiritual armor of God (verse 13). And when that’s been done, Paul says to pray always… for all the saints (verse 18).

Your prayers to God for believers and unbelievers are extremely important. So do what Paul did based on Colossians 1:9-12:

  • Ask God to help others know what He wants them to do with their lives (verse 9).
  • Ask God to give others a desire for a deeper spiritual understanding (verse 9).
  • Ask God to help others live life in a way that pleases Him (verse 10).
  • Ask God to help others understand their spiritual gifts and exhibit the fruit of ministry (verse 10).
  • Ask God to give others strength to endure life’s trials (verse 11).
  • Ask God to give others patience when dealing with trying people (verse 11).
  • Ask God to fill others with joyful thanks as they live for Him (verse 12).

Elsewhere in the New Testament we see other ways Paul prayed for people and had an influence on them:

  • He prayed for their purity (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24).
  • He prayed for righteous living that would produce fruit that would glorify God (Philippians 1:11).
  • He prayed that they would experience the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:18-19). He prayed that they would be united in spirit with one an­other (Romans 15:5).

When we pray for others, we should ask God to help them grow spiritually mature. Without spiritual maturity, people will crumble at the first signs of adversity. As we just noted, Paul prayed for maturity for his friends at Colossae (Colossians 1:9-12).

As we pray for the maturity of others, as Paul did, we should also pray for our own strength and power. It's spiritual power that enables us to have "great endurance and patience… joyfully giving thanks to the Fa­ther" (verse 11). Your influence can’t help but be felt if you trust the Lord through this heartfelt prayer for others. Now that’s spiritual maturity!


Dear Lord, help us to have hearts for others. Give us strength to have the endurance through difficult circumstances, the patience to live and function around difficult people, and the joy to respond well in all forms of trials. We pray for an attitude of thankfulness and humility as we pray for those around us.


For more insight into navigating right choices through prayer, read Jim's book The Man Who Makes a Difference


Do you pray more often for the physical and circumstantial comforts of others (and yourself!) or for the spiritual growth and maturity that God desires?


Pray faithfully for others—including your enemies (Matt. 5:44). Pray always (Ephesians 6:18), enjoying God’s constant presence (Joshua 1:9).

Jim and Elizabeth George

Jim and Elizabeth George are bestselling authors and national speakers dedicated to helping people live a life after God’s own heart. Together, they have written over 150 books with more than 14 million copies sold around the world. For over 35 years, the teachings and steadfast example of Elizabeth and Jim have helped countless men and women:

  • Simplify life by focusing on God’s priorities.
  • Appreciate God’s Word and apply it to everyday situations.
  • Respond to circumstances with confidence by seeing yourself through God’s loving eyes.
  • Increase closeness in marriage by serving and honoring each other.
  • Powerfully shape the hearts of children and teenagers.
  • Enjoy greater intimacy with God.

Learn more about Jim and Elizabeth George here.

1 comment

  • Wow ! God is so good! This powerful message penetrates my heart and soul! Lord continue guiding me and may Everything I believe say and do glorify you !


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