A friend of mine has been going through a rough time recently, trying to “find himself,” among other things, and he has asked me to pray for him. Actually he’s asked me to pray for him several times within a few week time span. I thought this would be worthy of sharing on the blog because of the significance of what this stands for.
Praying is one of the most intimate acts you can perform. It is direct communication with God. It’s intimate, private, and direct. There have been many moments of my life that I’ve stopped and prayed during, and most of them have defined the person I’ve become. If you reflect on your life, you’ve probably noticed the same thing. We tend to pray when our emotions are at their peak intensity. This can be caused by agony or ecstasy, but the times in life that we pray are typically at a peak of an emotion.
I point this out because the last two times I was asked to pray for a friend I did so, but not with the agony that I know he was going through. He and I had engaged in deep conversation in several areas, most of which came back to the current hardship he was in. Everything related to this somehow. But when I prayed for him, I treated it like a “to-do” list. I prayed “MY” prayer, “MY” way, mentioned him, and moved on.
I will never argue that a prayer for another person is considered bad. I’m not ashamed of myself for praying a bad prayer. However, when I thought twice about this I was really convicted. The highest and lowest points of my entire life elicited prayers from me, but even though I knew in the back of my mind the same thing was happening with my friend, I treated it as a nonchalant chore.
You’ve probably been there too, right?
We are conditioned as humans to think our needs are more important than others. Call it survival or what you would like, but that’s our tendency. It’s difficult to empathize with someone as they go through a defining hardship when we’ve never experienced it. Today I challenge myself and you to do better.
When you pray, take an extra moment to get in the mindset you would be in if you were in the same situation. Approach God as if you were at a defining moment in your life and you were asking for help. It is very likely that someone who has humbled themselves enough to ask you to pray for them are in such a situation. Here is my prayer for strength for a friend:
Gracious and loving almighty father,
Thank you for the blessings you have so freely poured out on me and my friends. We thank you that you are so generous to us and expect so little in return.
I come to you with a request today for [friend]. He has confided in me about the state of his marriage. God I appreciate the man he is and how difficult this time can be for him and his family. I pray Lord that you help fill his heart and his marriage with love and joy so it overflows. Please guide them through the decision making process and direct them in a way that honors you and is best for them. I pray father that you be with them each moment of the day, protecting them from harmful words and thoughts. Please father fix broken hearts and fill voids for them, such that they grow closer together than ever. I pray father that you help both of them to not waver in faith, but be focused on you and your glory.
In Christ’s name I pray, Amen.
Prayers for friends aren’t a chore. They’re a defining moment. Treat them that way when you ask Almighty God to help.