Sometimes when you are bombarded with discouraging news, feel pressured, experience stress or trauma, it can be overwhelming and paralyzing, especially when it seems like no end is in sight. I teach at risk high school students. Unfortunately, several of them are at this point. I reached out to one of them yesterday who is ready to give up on high school. I hope she doesn’t. People are hurting all around you. If you know God, you hold the answer to helping them.
Prayer is a key which unlocks the gate of helplessness and hopelessness. You might not know what to do for people facing complicated and sometimes long-term issues, but you can pray for wisdom and God’s intervention (Luke 11:9-13; James 1:5-8). Then carry out what God shows you in love. Too often prayer is used as a last resort–“I don’t know what else to do, so I guess I’ll pray.” It’s better to pray first and often. Recognize prayer as a powerful and effective weapon in combating the impact of living in a fallen world, the sinful choices of broken people, and the oppressive forces of demons (James 5:13-16; Ephesians 6:10-20). I need to do a better job of praying.
The apostle Peter gives godly advice along this line to believers, “The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 4:7-11).
Peter encourages believers to pray, love, counsel, and serve. That is what Jesus did on earth. Even now he intercedes for us in heaven as our mediator (1 Timothy 2:5-6; Romans 8:34). After his death and resurrection, before ascending to heaven Jesus commissioned his followers, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you” (John 20:21). This is the calling of every believer. Through the power of his Spirit followers of Jesus intercede in people’s lives as he did.
Here are some practical tips for interceding:
- Pray. Directly talk with and listen to God. One way is to use the ACTS acronym.
- A is for Adoration. “Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods” (Psalm 95:1-3).
- C is for Confession. “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24).
- T is for Thanksgiving.”Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
- S is for Supplication. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
- Love. Use the time, talents, and treasure God has given you to benefit and nurture others. Jesus gently commanded his followers, “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35). Through Jesus’ love we light our world so people in darkness can find God.
Jesus is the answer for every person and every situation. He is the way, the truth, and the life. No one is saved except through him (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). By praying and loving you can intercede in people’s lives so God can deliver them from the bondage of sin and suffering. May your words and actions introduce them to God and his everlasting life and healing power available through trusting and obeying Jesus. This is your joyful responsibility and blessing—to bring glory to God by standing in the gap for people as an ambassador of his reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:14-21).
Note: In case you are interested, I compiled six tips related to interceding which you can view and download. It’s entitled, Today for Jesus.