Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results. - James 5:16

No man is an island unto himself. We are more like an archipelago – a chain of islands with interrelated ecologies. Everything you do affects others around you. Why not use this “ripple effect” to benefit those around you? Do not consider yourself separate. Do not pray only for yourself. Notice that in Christ’s example of prayer, He began by praying for the advancement of the Kingdom. It is easy to fall into the habit of self-centered prayer. We ask for this, beg for that, plead for the other. We are so caught up in our own needs and wants that we forget that there is a needy world. Christianity is primarily about service. We are to minister to those around us. James says that it is useless for us to simply tell someone who is hungry to be blest, be warm and be fed. We are to get up out of our comfort zone, get out there and help them.

So, too, our prayer life should be characterized by service to others. Pray for their needs, for their wants. Pray for their children, for their family life. Pray for the leaders of your community. Pray for your church. Ask God to give wisdom to the judges. Plead for protection for the police and firemen. See if God will guide the hands of the medical staff of your hospital. Check on these things and see if your prayers are having a result. You can ask for information on the number of police or fire departments work related accidents or incidents. You can see how many people are successfully treated at your hospital. This will only help your faith as you see the impact that your prayers have.

As you are praying, choose a prayer partner who is willing to join you. Be accountable to that person. If you are struggling spiritually, ask for their prayers. If you have sinned, confess it to them and get them to help you establish safeguards so that it doesn’t happen again. As you reach out to others IN help, also reach out to others FOR help. What will develop is a community based on love, compassion, and help with you at its heart. But it will not happen as long as your prayers remain self-centered.