I would be lying if I were to say everything is fine and all is a bed of roses. I realized at last night’s prayer meeting that we so often pray for each other at the surface level. I was challenged as we read Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:16:
…that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being…
Strengthened in our inner being… not our flesh, not our intellects, but our inner being, the essence of who we are. But to ask for prayer for that from others admits a certain vulnerability. I have rarely attended a prayer meeting where someone said, “Pray for me, I’m battling an addiction to computer games,” or “Pray for me, I’m still struggling with grief and its so hard for me to function on a daily basis,” or “Pray for me, despite all my friends, I am so lonely…”
To ask for prayer at that level places me at a terrible level of vulnerability. It opens me up to criticism, it opens me up to unwanted advice, it opens me up to Job’s friends. Maybe that is why we never really ask for prayer for what we really need. Yes, we ask for prayer for healing, but we don’t talk about the fears that plague us, the doubts that nag at us, or at the sin that crouches at our heels.
As I have thought and meditated on this, I realize that when I deny my weakness and vulnerability I build a wall that separates me from others and worse, separates me from God. I am ultimately accountable to God, but with no one knowing my struggles and challenges, there is the temptation to act like something I’m not: strong, independent, spiritual.
The truth couldn’t be more different. I am weak. I am dependent. I strive for real spirituality but hide from God at the first hint of my own weakness. As though I will ever be good enough. And so, in hiding from others, I lose sight of my true hope based on the truth of the gospel, which is this: I am hopeless. I am a failure. I am a terrible sinner, and I am a rebel—without Jesus. But my Savior, Jesus, paid the price for me. And my hope and my victory is based in the reality of who HE is and what HE has done, not what I have done. I will never be good enough, but HIS shed blood will always be sufficient. That is the real message of Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and Easter: Messiah died, Messiah is risen, to deliver us from the Egypt in our souls (And isn’t that what the desert was about? The children of Israel left physical Egypt only to discover that Egypt was enshrined in their souls).
And he says we are to strengthen and encourage each other. So, my dear friends and readers, lets really pray for each other. Because when we are weak, HE is strong, and HIS faithfulness is the basis of the only real hope we have.