I don’t even know where to begin with this post. My thoughts have been swirling and trying to process what’s been going on in my heart, a desperate plea, for a long while. I hope I articulate it well.
We HAVE to change.
As friends. As a society. Most certainly as a church.
Over the past few months I’ve learned of several friends who have been attacked by various illness or disease. I’ve learned of marriages falling apart. I’ve learned of addictions to medications and pornography. I’ve learned of horrible abuse and deep depression.
I’ve heard of all of these things before and I’ve done what we’ve all done in response… “Oh no. That’s just horrible. I’ll pray for them.” I shoot up a quick prayer to God and go on with my day.
Or I just shake my head in concern, move on and do nothing.
As we navigated the horrible pregnancy with Phoebe, we were blessed to be prayed for by thousands of people. Literally thousands. Some once or twice, others daily for months. We were (and are still) overwhelmed by the outpouring of love for our family by every person who involved themselves in our story.
They prayed for peace. For healing. For safety. For God’s will to be done.
PEOPLE PRAYED. I prayed too.
In the Bible we’re told this about prayer:
Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. –James 5:13-16
Prayer is powerful and effective.
“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people.” –1 Timothy 2:1
We are to pray for each other.
“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”–Hebrews 4:16
We are to pray BOLDLY with confidence.
When Phoebe was sick in my womb, my husband and my children prayed boldly, reminding God of His plans for her, asking for complete healing of the little girl who was given .3% chance to live. They prayed every day.
We approached the elders of our church and asked them to pray over us, interceding on Phoebe’s behalf. And they did.
We asked YOU to call out to God and lay this burden at His feet. And you did.
You approached the throne of grace with confidence that God would hear your heart’s cries and answer accordingly. And He did.
We have seen what happens when people gather in the powerful name of Jesus Christ to pray. We live daily with the knowledge that the Body of Christ stepped in on our behalf and we bear the marks of love because of it.
Here’s where I’m frustrated.
A pastor friend recently posed this question to his congregation:
“How many of you either HAVE or have had to deal with cancer?”
ONE-THIRD of the people raised their hands.
Did those people have thousands going before God on their behalf? I don’t know. What I do know is that most don’t even have a few.
What has happened that we’ve decided (mostly by our lack of participating in it) that prayer is our second line of defense against the crud of this world? Or maybe that it’s not a valuable tool in our arsenal at all?!
We are told clearly in Scripture that it is not only a tool, but the MOST valuable one, binding all the others together…
“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit,which is the word of God.
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. “
We are to take all of the tools; the belt of Truth, the breastplate of Righteousness, the Gospel of Peace, the shield of Faith and the helmet of Salvation and PRAY in the Spirit.
This is the same Spirit who the Apostle Paul tells us “also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” (Romans 8:26)
When we pray, we’ve got the Holy Spirit speaking directly to God for us.
We’re also told we should pray TOGETHER, “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.”–– Jesus (Matthew 18:20)
You guys, why aren’t we praying for and WITH each other more often?
We’ve been tricked into thinking that our troubles will be a bother to others, that we’ll impose on their lives if we tell them what’s really going on in ours. That we’re not worth their time or energy.
That is a LIE.
It is of the enemy.
Do you know what happens when we share our burdens with each other and bring them before God together? GOD GETS the GLORY.
That makes Satan mad as heck. Nothing ticks him off more than his archenemy getting the positive, beautiful recognition He deserves. In fact, the devil will do anything to stop it… lie to us (“They’re too busy for you.“), entice us with busyness, making us too and tired overwhelmed to call out to God. He’ll make you feel ASHAMED of your problem (“If they knew how this happened they’d never think of you the same again.”)… the list goes on.
God designed community and prayer. He WANTS us to go to Him in good and bad times. He wants us to share our burdens with each other and to come to Him together.
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”–Galatians 6:2
And let us NOT. GIVE. UP.
In Luke 18 there is a parable (short story) Jesus told about a widow who kept nagging the local judge to give her justice against her adversary. For a long time he refused but she kept coming and coming. Finally he said to himself, “because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!”
Jesus says this next: “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly.“ –Luke 18:7-8
“Jesus told His disciples this parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up”. (Luke 18:1)
PRAY FOR EACH OTHER.
PRAY WITHOUT CEASING.
DON’T. GIVE. UP.
So I ask you: What do you need prayer for? No fear of being a burden. No shame. No judgment. Just prayer. Invite your community to pray for you. If you don’t have a praying community, shoot me a message and I will be more than glad (and honored) to lift you up before the throne of grace. The devil wants you to hide. Fight back. You CAN be set free from whatever you’re up against. Because friend?
Let’s invite God back into our stories and give Him the glory for what He is about to do in our lives. It might not look like anything we’d ever expect or maybe even hope for, but you guys? This is a battle. And our God? HE WINS. Let’s do this.