Most of us have done it at some point. “I’ll pray for you,” we say, when really all we mean is that we are thinking about someone and whatever they are going through. There are probably some of you who wouldn’t even consider yourselves a “praying person”, yet you have said it from time to time simply because it felt like the right thing to do. So why don’t we just tell others, “Thinking of you”? Has it just become a coined phrase such as asking someone how they are doing and getting a quick, “good” response back? And, if we are offering sincere, intentional prayer up on others’ behalf, why? What does praying to an unseen God do for someone who needs immediate comfort or help?
There have been several incidences in friends’ lives where I have so badly wanted to “do something”; to try to cushion the blow of whatever life has thrown at them so to speak. Whether it is plan a girls’ night for a friend who is walking through a break-up, or bringing a casserole to a family who has gone through a loss, we just want to help ease others’ pain. While an ice cream sundae with an acquaintance or a walk with a peer might be temporarily helpful, it does not get to the core of the problem. It just doesn’t truly help. In fact, there are many instances in which an encouraging text or dropped off meal, however delicious, could seem like salt in the wound. I believe this is because while these things might serve our own need to reach and “do our part”, it can sometimes accentuate the truth that no one truly understands what the casserole-receiver (again, just go with it) is going through. After all, if they did, they would be able to do more…to fix things. At some point in life, we all become all too aware that this just can’t happen no matter how much we wish it could. I am not saying reaching out and offering love and support is irrelevant; not in the least. Community is vital and whether someone empathizes with our situation or not, we need the love, albeit imperfect, of those around us. I AM saying that these things are equivalent to giving a dehydrated person a sip of water- nice in the moment, but often just causes the thirsty to thirst even more. So what can we do? I believe that lifting others up to the throne of God is the only thing that truly assists.
Think about it: when you send good vibes or thoughts to another, however well intentioned, they are powerless. After all, if you had the power to help what that person was walking through, you might have prevented it all together. So doesn’t it make sense to meet with the One who allowed it to happen in the first place? It is there that we wrestle through the “why’s”. Prayer does not change God, but it does change the one who prays. In talking to God, we are reminded of His sovereignty, of His love, of His goodness. The more we get to know Him, the more we learn to trust Him with our lives and the lives of those around us. Even when it is hard. Even when things don’t make sense to our finite, human minds. In the midst of a broken and heartbreaking world, there is Hope. Prayer is simply communication with God and we cannot meet with the Creator without being changed for the good. He DOES care about our needs, both big and small. But how do we know that for sure? We must look to the cross. There, in the place where Love was made perfect. There, where the Holy died for the unholy, the unjustified given justice through God’s own flesh and blood. Oh, friends, how He loves us. How He cares for us. How He longs to be the Meeter of all our needs. Because of the cross, as a Christian, I have been given full access to God’s holy throne. Hebrews 7:25 says it best,
“Therefore He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them.”
He is constantly interceding for those that put their faith in His perfect sacrifice. After the casserole has been eaten, the night out is over, the vacation away ends, and you are once again hit smack in the heart with the reality that didn’t disappear, He remains. Always mediating. Always standing in the gap. Bearing our burdens for us and offering ourselves and those we love a healing balm whose ingredients are kept in the Secret Place but given limitless to those who will simply ask. The next time someone around you is facing a trial or tribulation, won’t you first offer them the only gift that truly keeps on giving, namely Christ? After all, we can only be the hands and feet of Him whose heart we know. In light of this truth, would you honor me with your prayer requests today? You can contact me in whatever way seems fit. If email is more appropriate, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org. It would be a privilege. In a world of tragedies, busyness, mysteries, and day to day tasks, He is our Rock. Let’s cling to Him today.