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The Best Thing You Can Do for Your Friends

My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God; on behalf of a man he pleads with God as one pleads for a friend.

Job 16:20-21

How many gifts do we give family and friends that end up on eBay or stored in the attic or garage? The old expression, “It’s the thought that counts,” applies here.

We have good intentions when giving gifts, and some of us are better than others at hitting the mark.

The biggest mistake I ever made in selecting a gift happened years ago in St. Petersburg, Florida when I gave my best friend and radio partner, Kurt Kilpatrick, a padded toilet seat for Christmas. I thought it was a thoughtful gift based on his account of where he did his reading. Might as well be comfortable, right? Let’s just say he wasn’t overly joyed by his gift.

Speaking of my old friend, he is one of the most generous people I’ve ever known. And the most talented. But that’s another story.

But the greatest gift we could ever give to each other is the gift of intercessory prayer. Friends praying for friends. Family praying for family. It doesn’t get any better than that.

Until she died in 1981, my grandmother prayed for me every day of my life. Wherever I was in the world, whatever I faced, she pleaded to God in my behalf.

In fact, I am persuaded she prayed with such frequency and fervor that God is still answering her prayers in my life today.

Let’s review our focus text. “My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God; on behalf of a man he pleads with God as one pleads for a friend.”

Have you ever shed tears before God in behalf of another? Notice the fervency represented here: “… he pleads with God as one pleads for a friend.”

Surely you have heard, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16b) The context of this verse relates to intercessory prayer. Praying for others is powerful and effective.

Here’s a method for adding variety to your prayers and expanding your intercessory prayer list. Anytime a friend or family member comes to mind, pray for them. You need not know what’s happening in their lives to intercede, because God knows.

For example, last night I had a dream about an old boss. He was on my mind when I started the day. A new name had been added to my prayer list.

When an ambulance passes by, pray for the person being transported. That wrecked vehicle in the ditch, pray for the victim(s).

Yesterday, my wife and I saw an elderly woman on a sidewalk. Walking was difficult for her. Another cue to pray.

Recently, I talked about how we are to pray continually. Can you see how intercessory prayer that responds to our thoughts of people we encounter and remember can aid continual prayer?

Remember, God hears those little prayers in response to the cast of passing characters in our lives. A quick prayer in behalf of someone is better than no prayer at all. And when you know of a friend in peril, make it a fervent prayer.

Have you ever said of someone, “I haven’t thought of him/her in years.” That thought may have been planted by the Holy Spirit to prompt you to pray for that person.

Back to my illustration on giving gifts. Material gifts will come and go, and sometimes they will be exchanged or go unused. But when we give the gift of prayer, the recipient will always benefit.

Who has been on your mind lately? Does a name come to mind right now? Then pray.

For more on this topic, check out this article: Lord Don’t Let Me Be Lonely

Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 2 (April – June) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.

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