When we are struggling with the burdens of life—be they spiritual, emotional, physical, financial, whatever—we tend to get on our knees and pray desperately for relief. Praying is definitely a good thing, but there is something better we can do while we are at it: pray for others! Not only will it take our minds off our problems, but our prayers will bless others! And, in turn, sow the seed for our own blessings.
Job is an ideal example. We all know the suffering that Job went through. I know that some of us have gone through some pretty rough stuff, but they can’t hold a candle to what Job went through. He lost his family, his money, his property, his possessions, his health — everything! Even his closest friends deserted him, mocking him for his faith, and God wasn’t too pleased with this. However, he was merciful to them when Job interceded on their behalf. And “after Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored Job’s fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before” (Job 42:10). So, you see?
God blesses us when we are mindful of others. And the best way to show people that we care about them (when we cannot help them in more direct ways) is by praying for them. We can save entire communities of people as well! Look at what Moses succeeded in doing by praying. After years of wandering in a literal wilderness, the Israelites lost their faith. They turned to other “gods,” and as you can imagine, God was highly displeased. But, again, as in the case of Job, when Moses interceded, God showed mercy (see Exodus 32).
Not all of us drop to our knees when we are in the wilderness. Some of us, like the Israelites, lose faith altogether. Despite this, if we have still managed to get through our difficult days, it is because we had people like Moses in our lives. Even though we may not have known it, they were praying for us. We should not forget them, and the best way to show our gratitude is to pray for them in turn. But we shouldn’t stop there.
There are thousands of people in the world—nay, millions—who are in wildernesses of their own choosing. They are doomed unless we pray for them, helping to bridge the chasm between them and God. It is known as “standing in the gap.” Speaking for God, the prophet Ezekiel said, “I looked for someone 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 no one” (Ezekiel 22:30).
Let God not have that complaint about us. I invite you to stand in the gap today, my friend. Do so even amid your struggles, and I believe God will bless you. And while you are lifting people to God, do you think you could lift me as well? Just a little? Thank you.