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Ways to Practice the Golden Rule When You Pray

Why not pray for others as you’d want them to pray for you?

Pray the Golden Rule
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Everyone knows the Golden Rule, right? It’s the command Jesus gave to His followers, as recorded in Matthew 7:12 and Luke 6:31: “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”

Something interesting (to me, at least) happened as I encountered those memorable words in my evening Bible reading. Because I not only read the Bible regularly, but try also to pray as I read, it dawned on me that the Golden Rule applies to the way I pray as well. That may not seem surprising to you—after all, the Golden Rule applies to all of life, right? Thoughts, words and actions. But it was a revelation to me.

I pondered whether I sometimes break the Golden Rule when I pray for others. Or don’t pray for them. So, in my prayers that night, I had a little talk with God. It went something like this:

Me:  Lord, do I pray for others as I would have others pray for me?

God:  How do you want others to pray for you? (He often answers my questions with questions). 

Me:  Well, I want people to pray regularly for me. Especially when I’m in some kind of crisis or special need.

God:  So, do you think that’s how you should pray?

Me:  Yes, of course. And when I ask for prayer, I hope they don’t just say “I’ll pray for you,” and then forget about it.

God:  So, you should be faithful to pray when you say you will?

Me:  Yes. Although I do forget sometimes.

God:  So, should you pray immediately, whenever possible? And do whatever you can to remind yourself of those who’ve asked for prayer?

Me:  Yes.

God:  How else do you want others to pray for you?

Me:  I think I want them to ask for more information, so they can pray more specifically for me.

God:  So, is that how you might pray for others?

Me:  Yes.

God:  Anything else?

Me:  I want people to pray good things for me.

God:  Of course you do.

Me:  But sometimes I feel like people are judging or criticizing me when they pray. You know, a sort of, “God, make him a better person.”

God:  You don’t want to be a better person?

Me:  You know I do. I just don’t like it when others’ prayers feel like gossip or criticism.

God:  So you’re saying you shouldn’t do that when you pray for others?

Me:  Right.

God:  Keep that in mind, then.

Me:  I will. And thank you.

God:  Anytime.

That’s not an exact transcription, of course. And I should stress that my side of the conversation was mostly audible, but God’s wasn’t. Still, it was, as I said, a revelation for me to contemplate praying for others as I would have others pray for me. I’m sure God isn’t done refining me in that area (among many others), but it’s already having an effect.  

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