A Friend in Need
So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do. 2 Thessalonians 1:11 (NLT)
Unfounded accusations at work, a rebellious teenager, an unpaid mortgage, nagging illness—the hardships my coworker faced seemed unbearable. What could I say to my fellow Christian? He didn’t need to hear that “all things worked together for good” or that he should “endure hardship as a good soldier” (Romans 8:28; 2 Timothy 2:3).
My heart ached for him as my mind searched for a helpful response. When he paused, I said, “I don’t know why God’s allowing all this to happen. Wish I did. I can’t solve even one of these problems for you, but I can and I do pray for you.
I picked up the Bible on my desk, opened it to Romans 15, and said, “Here’s what Paul prayed for the Christians in Rome as they faced persecution under Nero, and I’m going to pray this for you.” Then I read verse 13, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Hearing God’s words comforted my friend. “Hope, peace, trust,” he said. “I needed that reminder today.” He smiled. “Thank you. Sorry I unloaded all my junk on you.”
“Everyone needs to vent,” I said. “I’m always willing to listen. Motivates me to pray more often for you.”
“What about you?” he said. “How can I pray for you?” Before our lunch break ended, we chatted a few minutes about some situations in my family.
Sometimes we can’t bear the weight of our burdens alone. We need others to bring our concerns to God for us, with us. The word intercession means “prayer, petition, or entreaty in favor of another.” Carrying a friend’s burdens to the Lord through intercessory prayer is a privilege. And I’m grateful for all those who pray for me too.
People don’t usually need advice. They need a listener, and they need an intercessor. Ask God to bring someone across your path who needs your prayers. And maybe that same person will offer to become your intercessor. The partnership will be a win-win for both of you.
Read 2 Thessalonians 1:11–12. In what ways are intercessory prayers part of the “good things” are faith prompts us to (v. 11)? If we “live a life worthy of [God’s] call,” what will be the result (v. 12)?
Read Romans 15:30–33. Paul ends this chapter by asking the Romans to pray for him. What were his requests?
Read Matthew 18:15–20. Verses 19–20 are often used to illustrate the power of intercessory prayer. But the context of these verses is church discipline. Do you think the principle of “two or three gathered” applies to all matters of prayer? Why?
Denise K. Loock
This devotion is part of a series on prayer.
 “Intercession,” Merriam-Webster.com, accessed 24 August 2019, http://unabridged.merriam-webster.com/unabridged/intercession.