YOUR FRIENDS MAY HOLD THE KEYS THAT UNLOCK THE UNTAPPED POTENTIAL OF A POWERFUL PRAYER LIFE – THIS IS HOW THEY CAN HELP.

We are surrounded by relationships, but driven by accomplishment. God is the opposite. Though surrounded by His accomplishments, He has given Himself in relationship. Though not in need of interaction, He has chosen to pursue it. For God fellowship is the goal. -Victoria Brocks

Peter was a delightful student from Edinburgh, Scotland, whom God sent to study at Moody Blible Institute in 1981. He was not only a student in my classes but also had become a dear friend. After he completed his studies at Moody, he went on to graduate school in the Chicago area. During this time we would frequently meet on Friday night, usually exhausted from the week. Our first agenda was to go eat a good meal together. Afterwards we would take long walks and pour out our hearts in prayers. It was during these Friday nights that the Lord taught me some special lessons about prayers.

I experienced the same help in college when a group of students would meet each day before lunch. Then as a student in graduate school, I found great aid from the prayer meeting I hosted each night in my dorm room. The graduate program I teach at Moody requires each student, staff, and faculty to have a prayer partner to assist them in their own personal prayer lives. Each student is also required to be a part of a small group experience each semester that is under the direction of a faculty member. Would you probably say with me that some of the most precious fellowship you have experienced in church have been in united and genuine prayer? In fact I have such fond memories of a small church plant where every week we devoted our entire Sunday evening service to prayer.

As Jesus faced the crisis of going to the cross, He chose to face it with His closest human associates to “keep watch” with Him in prayer (Matthew 26:37). Even though they let Him down in this case, the principle of companionship is certainly upheld. The Bible clearly affirms the blessing and need of godly companionship.

Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another (Proverbs 27:17).

Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).

In this chapter, we will explore one specific way that this companionship can aid your prayer life.

Help In Casting Your Cares Upon The Lord

I have already stated that our anxieties are a significant means that God used to draw us into prayer (Philippians 4:6-7). Jesus clearly told his perplexed and troubled disciples that He desired to give them His peace. In John 14:27 He says, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”

Jesus’ peace is referred to as “My peace” not only because He authored it and gives it, but also because He experienced it. In the midst of all the pressures of His life, He exhibited supernatural peace. He continually felt the pressure of all the expectations of those around Him and the pain of being rejected by His people and the religious leaders. He woke up each day knowing that there was a plot to kill Him and also that eventually one of his own disciples would betray; the rest would desert Him. Where many people go to find comfort in such stress is their family. Jesus was single and His own family did not fully understand Him! In all of these circumstances He experienced a peace that He desired to leave with His followers.

The apostle Peter observed this peace and under the inspiration of the Spirit instructed God’s people of all ages to cast their cares upon the Lord (1 Peter 5:7). Such an instruction flows from the very heart of God and is found throughout the Bible. The Psalmist had gone through the burden of being rejected by an intimate friend when he pens these words in Psalm 55:22, “Cast your burden upon the LORD, and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.”

As we seek to cast our cares upon the Lord we need to be alert to the times that God desires to work through others to aid us. There are times that we need others to pray with us and for us in order to experience the peace Jesus gives. For this reason God instructs us to help bear each other’s burden (Galatians 6:2), and one way to do this is in prayer.

As I sought God in prayer one day I diligently tried to get in touch with my troubled heart. I struggled and prayed all morning. I “limped” to my one o’clock class that I was to teach that Wednesday afternoon. After attempting to feebly lecture for a few minutes, I stopped and told the class that I was struggling with a burden that I have not been able to identify. I asked if they would kindly pray for me. They graciously did, and after their prayer I continued the lecture with a new spiritual strength. When I returned to my office after class and sat at my desk, it become immediately clear to me the burden I was carrying. God had worked through the prayers of others to aid me in first identifying and then casting this care upon the Lord.

After a long and satisfying single life I married Penny at age of thirty-six. Less than two years later God gave us our first child, William Reynolds. He was followed by Michael Scott. I was so joyful to have these two gifts but since I was approaching my mid-forties I felt that our quiver was full. But I also sensed that Penny and I were not in full agreement.  She mainly just talked to the Lord about it and put no pressure on me. For some reason the thought of another child was a very fearful thought. Children are a “gift of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). However, this passage goes to say the “children of one’s youth” (Psalm 127:4), and I felt that I was no longer a youth!

As I was up in the middle of the night praying, I decided to submit this fear to the elders of the church and have them pray with me. So I called the next day and arranged for this to happen. The elders graciously identified with my fears and very mercifully prayed for me without the slightest sense of condemnation. All I know is that after their prayer I was free from the fear and was at complete peace at putting this matter in the Lord’s hand.

Several months later Penny informed me that she was pregnant. A few days earlier God had laid upon my heart a verse of Scripture that prepared me. Truly I rejoiced in God’s goodness and His gracious gift. One of the elders began to call me “Abraham”. The day I wept with tears of joy, David Preston was dedicated to the Lord. Many times I have looked at him and recalled the time of prayer with the elders. I would not have this precious third son apart from the help afforded by godly companions in prayer.