I come to you this morning with hot coffee and under a blanket!
It’s a balmy 8 degrees at my house this morning, with an expected high of 31 (which will feel like a heat wave after I braved the cold to let my dog out this morning!)
Hope all of you are staying warm!
Today, I want to talk about something that’s been on my mind for a few months.
I didn’t plan to write about this, but after talking to a former-colleague-turned-dear-family-friend last week, I think I’m ready.
I want us to get real with each other.
We may scratch the surface of our feelings, but we don’t openly share them with our brothers and sisters in Christ.
I think, in large part, we are afraid of seeming weak and vulnerable.
It’s easier to talk about so-and-so who is in the hospital and needs surgery than it is to talk about the painful hurts of our hearts.
Don’t get me wrong.
Sickness and surgery are valid concerns.
So many have health issues, but my point is this – is that all we have to pray about?
Yes, Jesus is the ultimate Healer, but what about broken hearts; marriages in trouble; trouble at work; and the real concerns we face day in and day out?
These are all valid prayer requests too and concerns we should be taking to the Throne of Grace.
He told us to bring our heavy loads, and He will carry them (Matthew 11:28-30).
But we should share these requests with others.
Sure, you can keep them to yourself, but Romans 12:15 says, “Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.”
And 1 Corinthians 12 speaks of us as the body of Christ, and in verse 26, it says, “If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.”
Finally, James 5:16 says, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.”
I’m not saying you need to air all the dirty laundry, but sharing our hearts—our real, vulnerable hearts—with each other enables us and empowers us.
It reminds us to feel compassion for one another; it strengthens our bond as believers, and it puts us closer to Jesus.
In Matthew 18:20, Jesus said, “For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.”
There is power in knowing that others are praying SPECIFIC prayers on your behalf.
Now with all that said, I have a prayer request in my heart that I am going to put on the table here.
I’ve shared it with my friends, and a few weeks ago, I argued with God all the way to church when He put it on my heart to tell my Sunday School class.
I did it even though I ended up crying and y’all — I HATE to cry in front of other people.
Has anything happened yet, no.
But I am comforted knowing that others are praying.
I’m not going to name names on a public platform, but someone I’m very close to does not share my faith.
Satan has used this person to try to break me through a spiritual attack (which started when I began writing My Grace-Full Life).
I pray daily for their eyes to be opened; I pray God won’t let the enemy have this one who is so dear to my heart.
I’d appreciate your prayers too.
I believe in two specific promises: 1) the 2nd half of the verse above, James 5:16b, “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.”
And 2) anything we ask in His name that is within His will, He will answer (John 14:13-14 and Psalm 37:4).
And as a subset of that promise, it’s not His will that any should perish but that all will have eternal life (2 Peter 3:9 and 1 Timothy 2:3-6).
So it’s a matter of waiting on God’s perfect timing (my word of the year)!
Again, I’m not saying we shouldn’t pray for the sick.
Of course, we should.
But when you talk about prayer requests and praise reports, let’s be real with each other.
Don’t be afraid to put some vulnerable heart-matters out there.
Through our experiences, we can encourage one another in such very real ways.
Today, as you pray, thank God that He hears our requests.
All of them.
Thank Him that we have each other as fellow believers to uplift and encourage one another, and we can help one another grow stronger in our faiths.
Ask Him to help you be the supportive brother or sister-in-Christ that someone else needs.
And to be real in your transparency.
To be real in your sorrows, and real in your joys.