Experienced LIFE Group leaders know that each new week brings a variety of prayer requests vocalized by group members. All of us would agree it’s important to intercede on behalf of those we lead and many of us have seen extraordinary answers to prayer.
But how often are we praying for the spiritual growth of those God has entrusted to our leadership? Are we praying as fervently for their spiritual growth as we are their temporal circumstances? The prayers of Paul recorded in Scripture reveal how often he prayed for the spiritual growth of those he led.
Here are just a few examples of Paul’s prayer requests:
- I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, would give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. (Ephesians 1:17)
- And I pray this: that your love will keep on growing in knowledge and every kind of discernment. (Philippians 1:9)
- For this reason also, since the day we heard this, we haven’t stopped praying for you. We are asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding. (Colossians 1:9)
- And in view of this, we always pray for you that our God will consider you worthy of His calling, and will, by His power, fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith. (2 Thessalonians 1:11)
In biblical community, it is both appropriate and necessary to pray for one another’s temporal circumstances. However, as leaders we will be wise if we look to Paul to gain insight into how he prayed for those entrusted to his spiritual leadership. Spiritual growth is dependent on prayer. While it’s important to pray for good test results, approved mortgages, traveling mercies, and a variety of other requests, it’s crucial we pray for the spiritual growth of those we are called to serve.