“Pray for all people, asking God for what they need and being thankful to God” (1 Timothy 2:1).
Some simple instructions here!
First, pray for all people. Pretty comprehensive. Impossible? Perhaps, but possibly this is where we need to plan or make a list. To pray for all people could seem so vast that you never begin. Perhaps pray for three people each day (or work out your own number). Don’t overburden yourself so that nothing actually happens. Start small. Continue small if that works for you. Keep praying.
Second, pray for what they need. Note that is neither what the person wants nor what I think they need. I don’t know about you, but it is pretty easy to project my deficiencies onto someone else — to decide what they need is humility, a lesson or something else that sounds good to me. No. Ask God for what they need: perhaps simply bring that person before God and ask God to work in their life. Sometimes, leaving it up to God is a wise thing to do!
Third, be thankful. It might even be a good way to begin the prayer. “Thank you, God, for [name of the person].” When we give thanks for someone, it is easier to love them and ask for blessings on them. Be thankful to God for that person and their life. Be grateful to God for awakening you to the possibilities of a relationship with that person. Be glad to God that you can pray!
God wants all people to be saved (verse 4). Perhaps your role in this is simply to give thanks to God and pray for each person as you can.
The added bonus? Well, two, in fact. One, you will be drawn closer to God by your simple prayer. Two, you will look at the person you pray for in a different light, perhaps even meeting your own needs in that action.
Father, lead me to pray for what you want in my life and the lives of those around me, not for what “I” want, and help me to be thankful for all things. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.