“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Momentarily overwhelmed by challenges and uncertainties I’ve been facing these last few months, this morning I practically fell apart during my prayer time. Okay, I fell apart. More like I curled into the fetal position, crying snot bubbles and taking quick shallow breaths that rendered me light-headed and unable to speak my heart to God. The more I tried, the less successful my attempts.
Unable to find the words for myself, I shook with anxiety while searching my phone for a fellow believer in Christ who could support me. Of the three go-to prayer warriors in my life, I called my friend S. When her voicemail greeted me after several unanswered rings, the disappointment tore a guttural cry from my spirit. I was devastated. Where I normally would have been searching God’s Word for the support I needed, that morning an avalanche of tears blurred my vision to the point of making the content of my Bible unreadable.
Not knowing what else to do, I wailed several few short sentences that found their way from my heart to my mouth.
- PLEASE, GOD HELP ME!
- GOD, PLEASE, I NEED HELP!
- GOD, I’M OVERWHELMED!
- GOD, PLEASE. HELP ME, PLEASE, GOD.
- I NEED HELP.
- GOD, PLEASE ANSWER ME.
- I NEED HELP.
I kid you not that I did not finish the last sentence before I saw (the ringer was off) S’s name flash on the phone that I was still holding. Like a lunatic, I greeted her with laughter and tears. My voice still hoarse from my cries. God was listening! Where I was starting to feel alone, He was reminding me I wasn’t. When S prayed for me this morning when I couldn’t for myself, I was reminded of the following:
- God is compassionate and merciful. His heart is moved by His children’s pain. Even as the sovereign creator and ruler of everything, He still cares about each and every single one of His children who come to Him with a burdened heart.
- In His compassion and His sovereignty, God will sometimes choose to answer prayers immediately. More than anything, what I needed this morning when I was crying out was to know that He was listening. As He needed to when He calmed the storm for the apostles in Mark 4:35-41, I think He chose to give me that immediate confirmation because at that moment my faith wasn’t strong enough to see past my fears.
- As believers, we are the body of Christ. And as the body of Christ, we are to come alongside and encourage one another in our walk with Christ. Spiritually, I was at a low point this morning. By God’s gracious provision, He sent a sister-in-Christ who prayed for me and provided the support to lift me up and get me back on my path.
I am thankful to God for the power of a praying friend. I am thankful that He made S obedient to His leading and directed her to go in search of her phone even though she wasn’t sure why there was an urgency to find it. If you’re a believer and don’t have an S in your life, or a D (my sister), or a K (my brother-in-law), if you don’t have God-fearing, God-loving, Bible-believing and Bible-obedient supportive loved ones in your life whose first line of defense is to pray for you, then pray for God to lead you to them – or them to you. And while you’re at it, pray that He will make you one to someone else.
I may not be a friend, but as a fellow believer I am your family, so may those of you struggling today know that you have someone praying for you. As S prayed for me, I pray that you will take Jesus up on His offer to find rest for your souls by exchanging your heavy burdens for his light yoke.
Remember, as the body of Christ, we are supporting one another to do His kingdom’s work on earth. We’ve each been given the Great Commission and while we have an individual responsibility, we also have the collective responsibility to support one another in this work.