Her review also made me realize the impact chapter 5 of The Heart That Heals can have on a reader. You can read her review here. So, today I'm writing a breakout post from chapter 5 of the book, specifically on bearing up one another through the power of prayer.
Prayer is an awesome privilege that I think we take for granted all too often. If you have been around me long you've probably heard me say (or read when I've written), "Prayer is the most powerful tool in our Christian tool belt." It is! Yet, quite often, it is also the most underutilized tool. Why? Why would our most powerful tool also be our most underutilized tool? Why do we use prayer as our last resort instead of our first hope?
I love what Valerie writes in her review:
"As a child, I learned there is a proper method and stance for prayer. I memorized the litany of catechism prayers, including Hail Mary, the Lord’s Prayer, and our mealtime and bedtime prayers. On my knees, hands together, head bowed, eyes closed, Sign of the Cross… Amen.
The Power of Prayer Comes From Praying Effectively
So, how do we bear up one another effectively through the power of prayer?
Galatians 6:2 says that we are to bear one another's burdens. The word used in this verse for burdens refers to the temporary overload that a friend may carry. This word is distinctly different from the word used in verse five of the same chapter which says each will have to bear his own load. The word used in verse five, often translated burdens, refers to the everyday load that we or a friend may bear. Two verses, one word—burdens, two different meanings. The first is a temporary overload, the second an everyday load.
"Bear one another's burdens (temporary overload), and so fulfill the law of Christ.... For each will have to bear his own load (everyday load).... And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up." Galatians 6:2, 5, 9
So, how do we bear up one another with their temporary overload?
Bearing up others requires us to come alongside the overburdened one and help by bearing up their temporary overload. One way we do this is by praying for them. Prayer is not only a way we cast our own burdens on the Lord, but it is also a way to bear the burdens of others.
We read in James 5:16b that we are to pray for one another and that prayer has great power!
"...pray for one another... The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working." James 5:16b
Effectual Fervent Prayer
In some translations of the Bible, this verse talks of effectual, fervent prayer. What does that mean?
The word effectual means producing or able to produce a desired outcome. It comes from a Greek word meaning energy or work. To pray effectually (or, as we might more regularly say today—effectively) for someone is going to take energy. It is going to be work! And, as we read in this translation [ESV], it has great power!
Pray Specifically With a Desired Outcome
When we pray, we should pray specifically with a desired outcome in mind.
However, that outcome we have in mind is not always going to be what God has in His plan, and we have to keep that in mind as well. Our desired outcome is not always going to be God’s will. Isaiah 55:8 says:
"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, declares the Lord."
We don’t always know God’s will. His will is not always revealed to us. He reveals to us only the things that we need to know and at the time that we need to know them.
Psalm 18:30 says:
"This God—His way is perfect; the Word of the Lord proves true; He is a shield for all those who take refuge in Him."
We must realize that though we have in our mind a desired outcome, we should always pray that God’s will be done. His desired outcome, in the grand scheme of things, is going to be so much better than ours! After all, His way is perfect (Psalm 18:30).
Fervent means exhibiting or marked by great intensity of feeling.
When we lift up a friend to Christ in prayer in order to bear her burden, are we acting effectually? Are we praying fervently? Ask yourself, "Is my prayer so specific to produce a desired outcome? Is it marked by great intensity? Or, is it just Lord, help Jane, she’s having a hard time today?"
Our prayers should be effectual—to produce a desired outcome, and they must be fervent—marked by great intensity. Prayer is work!
When we say that our prayers need to be effectual to produce a desired outcome, we mean that they need to be specific, with specific results in mind. A good example of how our prayers need to be specific would be in the way we pray for our missionaries. I have, on occasion, heard someone pray, "Lord, bless all the missionaries around the world." You may have heard this same kind of prayer as well. Do we really want the Lord to bless all the missionaries? Certainly, we don’t. There are missionaries around the world for every cult imaginable. Our intent in praying is not for the Lord to bless them all.
Be Specific When You Pray to See Specific Answers
When you pray for missionaries, call them by name and list their individual needs. The same should be done when we lift up a friend to Christ. Be specific, call her by name, and list her specific needs. Pray effectually and pray fervently!
Another reason to pray specifically is so that we can see specific answers to our prayers. If I pray, "God, bless so and so..." how do I see that prayer answered? How do I see specific answers to that prayer? It would be difficult.
I like to see evidence of answered prayer. So, I get specific. I get detailed. I journal it! I write it down. I make a list. I tell God exactly who it is I am praying for (although He already knows), and I tell Him exactly what the need is in as much detail as I can. Then, when the answer comes, it’s easily recognized as a specific answer to my prayer.
For more on prayer checkout How God Answers Prayers – Answers To 4 Important Questions About Prayer and Understanding How to Pray Ceaselessly as a Mom.
Hey Small Group Leaders!
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Looking to promote your small group or Bible study using The Heart That Heals as a 10-week Bible study? Look no further. We've put it all together for you here including Your Ultimate Planning Guide for Leading Small Groups & Bible Studies. Everything you need to plan and lead a small group or Bible study is right here for you, friend, including posters, postcards, social media graphics, and more! Wouldn't it be great if our whole lives said, Come on in! You'll meet God here! Well that's exactly what The Heart That Heals is all about. It's a place for you to settle in and meet God.
Each chapter will challenge you to reflect, apply, pray, meditate on and memorize Scripture. It’s your homework but in a good way. Friend, please don’t think you’re alone. You are not! Thousands of women just like you have used these biblical principles to heal their brokenness. You have not come here by accident. You've found this place today for a reason, and you belong here!
Bear One Another's Burdens Galatians 6:2 Modern Calligraphy Scripture Art Print
Checkout this cute print from my friend, Nicole! She creates lovely watercolor and hand-lettered, faith-based artwork and sells it here in her Etsy shop. When I saw her post this on Instagram last week I was like I've got to include that in the Bearing Up One Another Through the Power of Prayer post!!! It's perfect, don't you think!?
If you're looking for a way to remind yourself of what we've talked about today, and the fact that we need to be daily lifting each other up to God in prayer, hop on over to Nicole's Etsy shop and check this out! It's available in several different sizes and the 5 x 7 is only $10!
So, when you are bearing up one another through the power of prayer, how do you pray effectually, fervently, and specifically with a desired outcome in mind? What are your best prayer tools and practices?
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