Do you have one of those friends who just has your back? Isn’t that the best feeling? I’ve lost count of how many good men and women of God have come alongside me. When I look back on the friends who had my back. It wasn’t the people who made big dramatic gestures of friendship. It was normal, faithful people, walking through life with me.
I think of friends who showed up when I had to move, friends who welcomed me into their home, friends who know my family well. I think of the people who have been there for me. I understand that not everybody has experienced that kind of love, but as brothers and sisters in Christ, that’s what we are meant to be. We’re supposed to be there, loving, supporting, and standing in the gap.
This year has been a hard year to “be there” for each other. (Especially for that long stretch of time when weren’t actually able to “be with” each other at all!) The difficulty and the division that have come up in the last sixteen months have broken and damaged a lot of relationships. So how do we do it?
How can we “be there” for those who still feel far away?
How can we “be there” when certain friends or family members have distanced themselves due to arguments and strife?
How can we “be there” for a community and a world that is in pain and needs the love of Jesus?
The Biblical answer for this is called “intercession.” Intercession in its simplest form means to pray for someone else. But it’s a whole lot more than just, “Hey Lord, bless that person.”
Intercession means to spiritually stand in the gap. You see when people are hurting, distressed, or distancing themselves from God, they often don’t know how to pray for themselves. As their community, we can stand in the gap and pray over them.
Now hear me out, intercession is not where it stops. Brothers and sisters, let’s never be people who ignore the needs of those around us and hide behind the holy words, “I’ll pray for you!” But too often in our world, we get overwhelmed by the massive needs of those around us. So we panic, we help in all the wrong ways, and we do damage. Intercession is us, meeting with our Heavenly Father and putting the grief and pain of others in front of him.
There are moments when that is all we can do. But there are other moments when intercession becomes a holy brainstorming session. It is where we gain new insights, ideas, compassion, and love from being in God’s presence. As the Father shares his heart with us through his Holy Spirit, we are transformed and inspired. From a place like that, what choice do we have but to do what Jesus did and to love like he loved?
One of the crazy parts of intercession is that we all need it. We need our communities to intercede for us, to stand in that gap. But if you’re feeling alone today, if you feel like there’s no one interceding for you, remember that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us.
But the Spirit himself makes intercession for us…
That’s right. The Holy Spirit prays for you! But as your community, we want to join him. So how can we pray for you? How can we stand in the spiritual gap for you? You can leave your prayer requests in the comments below, then spend some time praying over the other comments. Let’s lift each other up and let the Lord inspire us.
We are never alone and we are never helpless. When we are in need, God and his people stand in the gap for us. When we see a need, it’s our turn to stand in the gap.