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<< Then & Now for Teens, with Dan Darling

Then & Now - Week of June 13

  • 2016 Jun 13

The Best thing You Can Do For a Friend
James 5:16

I’m a fixer by nature. This usually works to my advantage because it motivates me to get involved in the lives of others and help them with their problems. Plus as a pastor, I’m often the one people look to for answers.

But I’m finding, increasingly, that I am powerless to change people. Of course I can turn them, help them see things differently, encourage them, lift them. But only God can change someone’s heart.

Instinctively we know that, don’t we? But in everyday practice, those of us who want to help people—this is a good and God-given desire—subtly assume the role of God and attempt to work our false magic on the hearts of those in our care.

I’m not sure about you, but in my life, God is continually humbling me, showing me that I’m actually quite helpless when it comes to other’s problems. The only wisdom I have is from His Word and the only change agent is God’s Holy Spirit.

Which means sometimes the best thing you can do for someone is to simply pray for them. But why is it that this is the last tool we pull out of our toolkit? Maybe because its so simple, so easy. It doesn’t require any work from us. And it won’t earn us any medals when a heart is transformed. But that’s precisely why prayer is potent.

Prayer works because it is humility in its purest form. You’re basically saying that you need God’s help, that you are helpless. And when you pray for someone else, you’re investing yourself so deeply, you’re helpless before God, not on your behalf, but on behalf of your friend.

So next time someone expresses a deep need, listen, give advice as God leads you, but most of all, get on your knees and pray for them.

It’s the best thing you can give. 

Daniel Darling is an author, pastor, and public speaker. His latest book is Crash Course, Forming a Faith Foundation for Life. Visit him on Facebook by clicking here, follow on him on Twitter at, or check out his website: