«Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us» (1 John 5:14).
STORY TELLS that a ship sank during a storm and only two men survived because they were dragged to a desert island. On the island, neither of them knew what to do, and because they were both Christians, they decided to pray to God. But for their prayers to be more effective, they parted company. Each one stood at an opposite point on the island and raised his prayers to the Lord independently.
The first man prayed for food, and the next morning, he saw near him a tree with fruit that was ready to eat. He stretched out his arm and ate. Then, since he felt alone, he prayed for company, and a woman arrived to the beach where he was, who had also been victim of a shipwreck. Finally, he prayed to be able to get off the island. The next day, he saw a boat in the distance, signaled for it, and was rescued. As he was leaving the island he saw the other man, alone and wasted away, and he thought: «It is clear that he is not a good Christian, for God does not seem to have answered any of his prayers.» He decided to leave him abandoned to his fate.
Suddenly, he felt the voice of God, saying: «Why did you leave your companion abandoned on the island?»
«Because it is impossible for him to be a good man if You Yourself have not wanted to answer his prayers. Besides, I don’t owe him anything.» «You are completely wrong on both counts,» God said.
«Really? What did he ask for? And what do I owe him that I should have to go back for him?’ the man wanted to know.
«At the end of each prayer, he always added: ‘Lord, may the prayers of my companion be granted to him.’ And that’s what happened: for his sake, I granted him his intercessory prayer for you.
The Bible says: effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much» (James 5:16). And in their prayers, the righteous not only asks for themselves, but include their neighbor and even those who abuse and persecute them (see Matthew 5:44). «We are all a part of the great web of humanity, all members Of one family. In our petitions we are to include our neighbors as well as ourselves. No one prays aright who seeks a blessing for himself alone» (White, Sons and Daughters of God, p. 267).