One of the difficulties of the last year has been bearing with the sufferings of others. The struggles of family, friends, acquaintances, and even strangers have weighed on us all, and often all we can do is pray.
Thanks be to God, the work of prayer is truly helpful, and no one is a better prayer guide than pastor Scotty Smith. His book Everyday Prayers: 365 Days in Gospel-Centered Faith is an excellent tool for anyone who wants to learn how Scripture can lead us into prayer. He also has has a wonderful daily prayer blog called Heavenward hosted on the TGC website; you can subscribe to have each day’s prayers delivered to your inbox.
This excerpt from Everyday Prayers helps us pray for all those who are hurting most:
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2 NIV)
Compassionate Jesus, the call to shoulder up under the burden of friends and family drives me to you today. Otherwise I would simply turn and walk away, just like the priest and the Levite in the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). Only you know why there’s such an avalanche of broken stories converging on my doorstep at this time. Where else can I go but to you?
Jesus, it’s only because you bore the burden of the law’s demands and judgment for me, only because you say to me, “Come to metal you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matt 11:28 NIV) that I risk what’s involved in bearing the heavy burdens of others.
Here’s what I ask and need from you today: Help me not to be afraid of the emotional messiness some burdens bring. Help me know how to rely on your presence more than I rely on my words. I want to be aware of my limits, for sure, but even more aware of your limitless mercy, grace, power, and peace.
For the woman who just got confirmation that the mass in her breast is malignant; for the dad who lost yet another job in this fragile economy; for the couple whose two-year wait for their adoptive child just ended childlessly; for the parents who’ve spent all and are spent from trying to rescue their daughter from the ravages of an eating disorder; for the friend who preaches a powerful gospel that bears fruit in the lives of everybody’s children but his own; for the friends who are having to pay a great price for an misdiagnosed medical condition; for the couples who are sleeping all alone in the same bed; for those who tell me, “This is too much, I cannot go on.”
Jesus, I bring all of these friends to your throne of grace., and I will seek to fulfill “the law of Christ” — the law of love, the way of the gospel — as you give me strength, wisdom, and grace. In your persistent and sufficient name I pray. Amen.