The Blessing of Prayer

International Fellowship of Christians and Jews of Canada logo

Then Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelek, his wife and his female slaves so they could have children again. — Genesis 20:17

Each week in synagogue, Jews read through the Torah from Genesis to Deuteronomy. The Torah portion for this week is Vayeira, which means “and he appeared,” from Genesis 18:1—22:24.

In this week’s Torah portion, we learn about the birth of Isaac to Abraham and Sarah in their old age. Immediately preceding this event, Abraham prayed on behalf of King Abimelek and his wife who were unable to have children. According to Jewish tradition, the proximity of these two incidents teaches us an important lesson about prayer. When we pray for others, our own prayers are answered.

I remember learning about this idea in school when I was younger, and my classmate asked our teacher a good question. Does this work even if a person prays for someone else only for the sake of receiving God’s blessings? Abraham’s prayer was selfless and sincere. What happens if the prayer serves a selfish agenda?

Our teacher explained with the following analogy. Grass needs the blessing of water in order to survive and grow. One way for grass to receive water is for the water to travel from a faucet through a hose to the garden where the grass is. Since the hose is the channel for the water to reach the grass, it cannot help but get wet itself.

The Blessing of Prayer

Similarly, when we bring blessings to others, we are inevitably touched by the blessings, as well.

God is the source of all blessings. But there needs to be a channel to bring God’s blessings into the world. One such channel of blessings is prayer. When we pray, we connect ourselves to God. When we pray for a friend, we become the channel that connects our friend to God. When God sends down the requested blessings, we are filled with the blessings, too.

What a powerful way to give and receive! By praying for others, especially those who have the same needs that we do, we can serve as a conduit of God’s blessings both for others and for ourselves. When we become aware of someone in need, it is a privilege to pray for that person. Our prayers can bring countless blessing to others, including ourselves.

Your turn: In the comment section below, share something that you would like your Fellowship family to pray over, and let us all pray for each other!

Stay informed about issues affecting Israel, the Jewish people, Jewish-Christian relations, receive daily devotionals, and more.