I glanced at my phone to check the time. My friend and I had been at a coffee shop talking for hours about a few difficult things that had transpired over the week, and we both needed to head home soon. "Well, I'd love to pray together real quick before we need to go," she suggested, noticing my que. We shared specific ways to be praying for one another and spent a few minutes lifting those requests to the Lord. As I walked to my car, I sighed in relief. A burden felt shared between my friend and I, but we hadn't left it to ourselves. We had ultimately given it to the Lord, trusting in Him to care and provide in the necessary means.
Praying together is one of the great ways we can care for one another as Christians. Hours of conversations, comforting words, a warm embrace, a shared meal–all provide a means for us to enjoy and learn the life of another. But when needs arise, we have limitations. We only have so many words, comfort, and help to give. Not only will we find ourselves exhausted by our inability to provide the necessary provision for those we care for, but we will reach a point when our efforts are simply not enough. Fortunately, for those who are in Jesus Christ, we have access to something better and more abiding through prayer.
Ephesians 6:18 reminds us that we are equipped with the Holy Spirit to approach the Father in prayer and exhorted to, "Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints" (CSB). Purchased on the cross of Christ and sealed by the work of the Spirit, we are invited to call on the Father–the maker of heaven and earth and the Sustainer of all things, who works everything in accord with His good and perfect will. And in doing so, we are provided the opportunity in prayer to intercede for our brothers and sisters in Christ. What a privilege! We are able to ask and request things beyond our limitations. When we feel burdened, implementing practical ways to care for our friends, we are not simply left to our own devices. For the friend who faces unimaginable medical news, we can plead with the Father for healing, comfort, and proper wisdom and care to be provided by doctors. For the friend facing relationship challenges, we can ask God for restoration and reconciliation. For the friend who is in financial need, we can pray for God to provide and sustain. God is able to do abundantly more than we could ever ask or think of doing. By regularly praying for one another, we place ourselves and those we pray for in the hands of the only One who can fully carry the weight of their needs.
Praying for one another should be a normal and natural way of the Christian life. Additionally, praying for one another shouldn't just happen in our personal prayer time but in person and together too. Though at times we may be afraid of making things too serious or being awkward by initiating, there is great encouragement that stems from taking the time to pray with someone. It displays humility and consideration outside of ourselves, ultimately desiring the needs of another over our own discomforts. Consider the times someone has stopped you to pray for you. Did you feel cared for and encouraged? I know I have! Whether ending a cherished time with a friend in prayer for one another, simply finding someone after Sunday service to quickly catch up and pray for each other, or even picking up the phone to pray for one another on your drive home, we can intentionally make time to pray for and with others. We need all the help we can get on this journey heavenward. Prayer reminds us of our need for God in every aspect of our lives, and praying with others reminds us of our need for His people. We can lift one another up in prayer, reminding one another to look to the Lord in every circumstance, trusting that our prayers will be heard and that He will accomplish all things for the good of His people and the glory of His name.