If you had to guess, what do you think is the greatest gift you can give to someone? We all likely agree that “laying down your life” would be the #1 answer. That certainly is giving everything! The next question is: what is the second greatest gift? Would it be a tangible object? Would it be your heart? I propose to you that the answer is: praying for them.
Look at it this way – you are bringing that person’s name, face and needs to the Almighty Father, to God himself, who sits enthroned far above us, in command of ALL things. Who else could possibly help more?
When Job endured the loss of his 10 children, all of his livestock, and on top of that, suffered with terrible sores from head to toe, he became severely depressed. His 3 closest friends attempted to comfort him, but kept placing the blame on Job for his calamities from God. For a full week, they sat there together in ashes, talking back and forth.
At the conclusion of this, the Lord himself spoke out of a whirlwind to Job and his friends. He chided Job for thinking he was knowledgable about God’s wisdom, but then the Lord spoke against Job’s three friends. Here is what He said to them:
“‘My anger burns against you (Eliphaz) and your two friends, for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has. Now therefore take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and offer up a burnt offering for yourselves. And my servant Job shall pray for you, for I will accept his prayer not to deal with you according to your folly. For you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has.’
So Eliphaz and Bildad and Zophar went and did what the Lord had told them, and the Lord accepted Job’s prayer. And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends.”
Just as God had shown mercy to Job by speaking directly to him and not punishing him for his lamenting, Job in turn showed mercy to his friends of folly by praying for them. It was after Job prayed for them that his fortunes were restored. Obviously he did not know this would happen, but I think Job appreciated his friends’ efforts in trying to comfort him and sticking with him throughout his ordeal, regardless of their bad counsel.
“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
We all need prayer from time to time, and so do those that we know and love. Moreso, those that we are acquaintances with often request prayer for loved ones, as seen in Facebook. I beg of you – do NOT say you will pray for them and then NOT do it! If you truly mean it, then pray for them right then, immediately. Don’t hesitate because that is when the enemy comes in and distracts you or changes your focus.
Intercession prayer on behalf of others is such a beautiful sacrifice of time, tears, and heart. This gift of genuine compassion, though likely not seen or heard by others, is seen and heard by God himself.
To lift up the needs of someone else, regardless of their relationship to you, is a very personal moment, and the Lord honors that. He puts those moments in our lives to encourage us to see past ourselves, and notice others. It blesses Him to see his children encouraging each other. This is what makes the church a family.
“But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.”
Food for thought: The FACTS about prayer, by Hank Hanegraaff:
F – Faith, A – Adoration, C – Confession, T – Thanksgiving, S – Supplication.
Fun facts: There are 650 prayers recorded in the Bible, and 25 of those were when Jesus prayed.
Photo by: Kari Wiseman – Horton hears a… Hey, whats that buzzing sound?
(Do you get it? The bee represents the Lord ‘who’ hovers and hears us.)