In looking over the various prayer requests that come in, I wanted to share some thoughts on identification and intercession.
Gal 6:2 says to “bear one another’s burdens and thereby fulfill the law of Christ”. Fulfilling the law of Christ is to continue in caring for one another as He taught and demonstrated.
Son of Man and Friend of Sinners
Did you notice: Jesus referred to Himself as the Son of Man, not the Son of God? He identified with humanity — he lived as a man anointed and led by the Spirit of God. He felt the pain, weakness, and suffering of people and was moved with compassion to pray for them, work miracles, and show kindness and acceptance and forgiveness. He referred to people as sheep in need of a caring shepherd.
Hebrews 5:7 says His prayers and supplications were with loud crying and tears. He was not afraid to get emotional in his praying.
Further He identified with us in our sin and sickness and bondage and took it to the Cross where His sacrifice and His blood interceded further so that we might have access to Father God. Even now He intercedes for us at the right hand of Majesty in the role of Highest Priest.
(Heb 8:6) “But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises.”
Jesus’ intercession is deliberate, compassionate, wholehearted, the perfect balance of justice and mercy, and is based upon the finished work of the Cross that satisfied the demands for justice so that those who trust in Him might receive mercy.
Hebrews 4:16 also tells us to come boldly with confidence to the throne of grace to find both mercy and the grace to help us in our time of need.
Receiving Prayer Requests
As we receive a prayer request and take time to consider the person’s situation– in need, looking to us for help, hope, and encouragement– let us take a little time to identify with the person making the request. Can you relate to the request?
Have you ever been in a similar situation? Even if you have never been sick with the particular illness a person may have, do you know what it is like to feel sick and weak and needing someone’s help?
The same is true for abusers. You may have never committed any kind of abuse, but do you do know what it is like to be angry and frustrated and want to lash out, even if only with words?
You may have never suffered bankruptcy, but do you know what it is like to feel unable to give what is being demanded of you?
Can you identify with the person making the request? If so, allow compassion to rise up to minister to the hurting one asking for help.
What could have prompted the request?
Why would he or she reach out to us for prayer instead of just praying on his/her own?
Perhaps due to fear or feeling inadequate, but maybe just because of the need for additional support to carry the burden, a partner in prayer.
He isn’t looking for a band-aid with a “God bless you” thrown in. He is looking for answers. We may be able to offer a brief bit of counsel or teaching, but oftentimes we have nothing to offer except our confidence in the Lord’s loving faithfulness to provide grace and the unchanging Word of God and our desire to lift them up to the Lord as priests.
Also consider the times that you have needed someone to pray for you and comfort you. Some of the most powerful prayer ministry I have received has been when the one praying allowed his or her emotions to join in and I felt the love and strength that flowed from him or her. Indeed recently, one intercessor responded immediately to a desperate request saying, “My heart goes out to you”. The words that followed stated that the hurting person did not need words of human wisdom, but from heaven and therefore, the intercessor would pray. No band-aids there.
What a comfort it must have been even to hear those words!
Our Ministry as Priests
We can provide a compassionate response with Spirit-led intercession grounded in the promises of the Word of God. We can give the hope that God cares about them, even if they go through difficult times. Sometimes people do walk through the valley of the shadow of death and we can pray for grace and remind them that the Lord is with them to comfort and guide. We do not have all the answers, so our confidence is in His character and His promise.
No band-aids, but a true healing balm of strength and comfort.
(Rev 1:6) and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father-to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Let us also fulfill our ministry as His kingdom of priests for His glory.
Thank you for praying.
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