By Brittany Rust, Crosswalk.com
Let me tell you about a time I realized just how important it was to have a community surround me in prayer, and how it changed everything.
I was pregnant with my second child and simply thrilled to welcome an addition to our family in a season that otherwise would be described as challenging. This little unexpected blessing was like a ray of sunshine in my dark night of the soul.
But then at ten weeks, I lost the child. And two weeks later, I birthed our little one and buried their little body in the ground. It was, to this day, the hardest thing I have ever been through. But also, one of the most moving because God showed up!
But oh my, the prayer. I had several separate communities of mine surrounding me and my family in prayer. The ladies at work literally prayed in circles of fervent intervention. My best friends and family were there in intercession. And my home church showed up in the most beautiful of ways.
I firmly believe that if it had not been for people partnering with me in prayer for my broken heart, I’d have not made it through so well.
The Bible is filled with verses on the power of prayer. But not just about prayer—about people praying for each other. About intercession and standing in the gap. It’s an important element to the Christian walk.
I'm so moved by Scripture, and seeing it play out in my own life, that I'm confident it will transform your life.
Intercession in the Bible
Intercessory prayer is when a person intercedes on another's behalf and pleads for their cause. Essentially, they stand in the gap between God and that person.
One Bible scholar defined standing in the gap as the call “to expose oneself for the protection of something.” This means you take the position on the battlefield in place of a wounded brother or sister in Christ. That's the power of intercession—it lives on the battlefield.
Standing in the gap and calling on God for another is a holy act with great power.
Ezekiel 22 shows what happens when there is no one to stand in the gap between God and others. Verse 30 says,
“I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none.”
Israel was in a bad place. Murder, idolatry, mistreatment of others, and adultery are just a few of the sins listed in the chapter. It was here in Ezekiel 22 that God's anger began to burn against the sins of the people, and He looked for one righteous man to plead the cause of the wayward nation. Just one. But He found none.
As a result, the wrath of God was poured out upon the nation. It was destroyed, along with the temple, and the people went into captivity.
What if there had been one person who would have stood in the gap between God and Israel? Imagine the relief so many could have experienced; the condemnation that could have been spared.
It wasn't an impossible notion either—it had happened before. Psalm 106:23 in the Old Testament illustrates a moment that it did,
“So he declared he would destroy them. But Moses, his chosen one, stepped between the Lord and the people. He begged him to turn from his anger and not destroy them” (NLT).
In Numbers 14, Moses was one man who stood in the gap between God and others, and a nation was spared judgment. The Lord relented His mighty hand because the leader was able to stand firm in prayer for this great nation God had called forth.
Charles Spurgeon said this when referring to Moses,
“Like a bold warrior who defends the wall when there is an opening for the adversary and destruction is rushing in upon the city, Moses stopped the way of avenging justice with his prayers.”
Prayer saved a nation. Now imagine you had people praying in your corner. What a powerful difference that could make!
Benefits of a Prayer Partner
How could inviting others into your world and asking for prayer make a difference?
1. God commands us to pray for each other. (1 Timothy 2:1)
“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people.”
Paul writes in his first letter to Timothy, inspired by God, to pray and intercede for ALL people. Not some, but every single person is praying for others. Meaning, you are being prayed for and over.
God cares that His people care for each other. And if it’s that important to Him, it should be for us and enough to seek out prayer support.
2. Prayer strengthens and supports you. (Ecclesiastes 4:11-12)
“Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”
Solomon shares in his great book of wisdom this idea that alone we are vulnerable. But coupled with other people—bound by Christ—we are stronger.
Honestly, for a long time, I didn’t ask for prayer because I didn’t want to burden anyone. I thought others already had so much going on; they didn’t need my problems to shoulder. And so, I kept my prayers private.
Oh, how I wish I would have learned sooner to share my prayer requests. Because now I look back and see how the support of others has carried me in a way that is both beautifully tender and mighty powerful.
See prayer partners as an avenue for God to strengthen you in this weary world.
3. It can move the situation. (Psalm 106:23)
“Therefore he said he would destroy them—had not Moses, his chosen one, stood in the breach before him, to turn away his wrath from destroying them.”
Remember how Moses stood in the gap in prayer and a nation was spared? Imagine if you allowed prayer partners in to engage in battle on your behalf? Can you imagine that might make a difference? That several fighting on your behalf would move God to work in a supernatural way?
4. That's what people do when they care about each other. (Galatians 6:2)
“Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
Here’s the thing: people want to pray for you. They want to be a safe place for you to land.
When people love Jesus, that love He has for people fills their hearts and they are now so inclined to love people in supernatural ways. It is His desire His people care for each other. And so, out of a natural love for God there is a natural love for people. And a natural desire to carry the burdens of others.
Christ followers will see intercession on your behalf, not as a duty but as a privilege. Will you allow them that blessing?
A Savior in Your Corner
Romans 8:34 in the ESV reads,
“Christ Jesus…who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.”
Every moment, of every day, Jesus is standing in the gap between God and you. Fighting on your behalf. Pleading your case before the mighty judge, our Heavenly Father, and doing it with his blood.
By his stripes, we are healed and set free. It's grace, praise God!
Jesus is the mighty warrior who fights on our behalf, who stands in the gap for you and me. Are we worthy? Only by His own shed blood is it so. But He sees us as His own and pleads our case as a bold warrior in the gap.
Don’t do this life alone, dear reader. It’s too much of a burden to carry and honestly, exhausting. Turn to your great Intercessor, Jesus! But also invite those God has placed in your life to the table of prayer. It’s not strength to do it on your own; it’s strength to be vulnerable and let others help you carry the load.
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Brittany Rust has a passion to see people impacted by the power of God’s Word and His abundant grace through writing and speaking. She is the founder of Truth and Grace Ministries, Truth x Grace Women, and is the author of five books. Brittany lives with her husband, Ryan, and son, Roman, in Castle Rock, Colorado. Learn more at www.brittanyrust.com.