July 1, 2020
Standing in the Gap in Prayer
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“I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one.” Ezekiel 22:30 (NIV)
One night, I was in the restroom touching up my makeup before teaching a Bible study to a group of women. I was having one of those moments when I looked in the mirror and thoughts began swirling in my head. What am I doing here? What do I possibly have to say to these women that could make any difference in their lives? I am not capable of walking to that podium tonight.
Have you ever felt like you weren’t capable of doing what God called you to do? I’m thinking you answered yes, so stand in the bathroom with me for a moment, and let’s see what happened.
While I was mulling over the lies the devil was telling me about not being good enough, my cell phone rang. It was my friend, Mary.
“I want you to know God interrupted me while I was cooking dinner and told me to pray for you,” Mary said. “Not only that, He told me to call and tell you I was praying for you.”
I imagined Mary standing in her kitchen with spaghetti sauce simmering on the stove and stopping mid-stir. Maybe she argued with God and asked Him if it could wait until dinner was done. But He persisted, and she obeyed.
God wanted me to know I was not going into battle alone. He prompted Mary to stand in the gap for me — to struggle in prayer for me and strive together with me. In that one moment, Mary and I locked our shields of faith through words and marched into battle together.
The prophet Ezekiel recorded these words from God: “I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one” (Ezekiel 22:30).
God went looking for someone to pray or stand in the gap for sinful Jerusalem, but I believe we can apply these words to our lives as well. Did you notice God said, “I looked for someone”? It could be that you are that someone who could stand in the gap for another person.
Paul understood the power of standing in the gap. He implored his friends in Rome to pray for him: “I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me” (Romans 15:30, NIV).
And when he wrote to the church in Ephesus, he said, “Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should” (Ephesians 6:19-20, NIV).
The Greek word Paul uses for “struggle” in Romans 15:30 is sunagonizomai, which means “to struggle in company of; i.e., to be a partner (assistant), strive together with.” The root word means “to endeavor to accomplish something: fight, labor fervently, strive.”
Agreeing to pray for someone isn’t simply a nice platitude letting them know we’re thinking of them or a pat on the back to cheer them on. When we tell someone we’ll pray for them, we agree to put on God’s armor and head to the front lines of battle on their behalf.
Many ancient shields had brackets attached to the sides. These brackets were a type of latch that soldiers used to lock their shields together during battle. When locked together, the soldiers moved as one, forming a barricade against the enemy. Alone, the shield was a small defense. Hooked together, they were a human wall.
When we lock arms in prayer with our friends, we lock our shields together and form a strong wall of defense. That’s what my friend Mary did for me that night, and that’s what we can do for each other.
Heavenly Father, show me who You want me to stand in the gap for this week. When I tell someone I’m going to pray for them, help me to know what and when to pray. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Ephesians 6:18, “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” (NIV)
Psalm 50:15, “Then call on me when you are in trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory.” (NLT)
Did you know your words are shaping other people’s lives? Every day, you can speak life into others’ souls or pull the life right out of them. To become a woman who uses her words wisely, you’ll love Sharon Jaynes’ updated re-release of The Power of a Woman’s Words: How the Words You Speak Shape the Lives of Others.
Visit Sharon’s website for free downloads on 30 Verses on The Power of the Words We Speak!
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Ask God for the name of whomever He’s calling you to pray for today, then send them a text or call to let them know you’re standing in the gap for them.
Think of a time when you knew someone was praying for you. What difference did that make in your life? Share your story in the comments!
© 2020 by Sharon Jaynes. All rights reserved.