Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. (James 5:13–16)
In the bible, God speaks to us through many different genres. Through the poetry of the Psalms, we see how God is with us in the thick of confusion. Here, we imagine what our brothers and sisters in hard places go through. Let’s stand with them by praying through the Psalms.
Petros and his two young children have fled their home country because of severe persecution. His prayer is for his homeland to return to God, so that his family can return to God to worship freely.
1 When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dreamed.
2 Our mouths were filled with laughter,
our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
‘The Lord has done great things for them.’
3 The Lord has done great things for us,
and we are filled with joy.
4 Restore our fortunes, Lord,
like streams in the Negev.
5 Those who sow with tears
will reap with songs of joy.
6 Those who go out weeping,
carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
carrying sheaves with them.
<< Lord, we stand with Petros and others like him in prayer and ask that You will restore their fortunes in their homelands. >>
Even as intercessors, we “sow with tears” and “reap with songs of joy”. How does this passage encourage you to be fervent in prayer?
Jesse’s uncle, Nathan, continually intercedes for Samuel, Rebekah and Jesse. In his prayer, he continually looks to God for help, despite the outward circumstances.
A song of ascents.
1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains –
where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot slip –
he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
<< Lord, You are God of all the earth. We pray that You will help us to trust in You regardless of the mountains we see in our lives. >>
When we intercede for others, are we looking at the mountains in our path, or at their Creator?
Although Petros was able to escape to a better country, not all have that privilege.
Petros’ neighbours, Samuel and Rebekah, were put in prison, leaving their only son, 8-year-old Jesse in the hands of his uncle. Samuel and Rebekah’s prayer is that Jesse will be comforted by God even though he is separated from them.
3 He heals the broken-hearted
and binds up their wounds.
4 He determines the number of the stars
and calls them each by name. …
8 He covers the sky with clouds;
he supplies the earth with rain
and makes grass grow on the hills.
9 He provides food for the cattle
and for the young ravens when they call.
10 His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse,
nor his delight in the legs of the warrior;
11 the Lord delights in those who fear him,
who put their hope in his unfailing love.
12 Extol the Lord, Jerusalem;
praise your God, Zion.
<< Lord, we acknowledge that You are Jehovah Rapha, our healer. We pray that you will tenderly comfort Jesse, and others like him, and bind up his wounds.>>
As intercessors, we can grow weary of praying, especially when we do not see or meet the people we are praying for. But God knows each one by name, even us – so let’s never stop praying on their behalf, as Jesus never stops praying for us.
David is a government official in Petros’ homeland. We stand together with the people of the land to pray for the leaders and authorities in their lives and ours, and praise God for rulers who fear Him.
For the director of music. A psalm of David.
5 Through the victories you gave, his glory is great;
you have bestowed on him splendour and majesty.
6 Surely you have granted him unending blessings
and made him glad with the joy of your presence.
7 For the king trusts in the Lord;
through the unfailing love of the Most High he will not be shaken.
13 Be exalted in your strength, Lord;
we will sing and praise your might.
<< Lord, You are the one who raises and deposes kings. We pray for David and other officials like him to put their trust in You.>>
As intercessors, may we never neglect to pray for those in authority.
It’s your turn!
Who else can we pray for in hard places? What Psalm gives us the words to pray for them?
Send in your psalm-prayers to firstname.lastname@example.org by 30 April 2016 to be featured in the next issue of Intersect.