It can be hard when someone in our world is struggling, and there's no clear-cut method of stepping in and helping them out. Sometimes it is hard enough just to think of how we can help those struggling with normal day to day circumstances, let alone when someone is struggling spiritually.
So, what do we do when a person we are discipling is struggling? Is there one specific solution? A one-size fits all approach?
Unfortunately, the fallen nature of our world means that there may be a vast array of difficulties or problems that an individual may be dealing with at any given moment or time. This means the probability of coming up with a single solution for each problem disciples might be facing, is inevitably slim.
However, despite this seemingly grim reality, the good news is that as followers of Jesus, we don’t have to fear or worry about what can or can’t be done in the natural. Why? Because we have God on our side! Our all-loving, all-trusting and all-knowing Heavenly Dad who cares for us deeply. This means that while we may feel limited and like there is nothing we can do in the natural, we don’t have to stop and give up in defeat. Rather, we can step into the supernatural, surrender the people we disciple to God and intercede on their behalf.
So, how exactly can we do this?
Two key methods of intercedence include prayer and fasting, each of which are evident throughout a multitude of examples in the Bible.
Let’s begin by unpacking our first method, prayer.
Prayer is one of the most powerful things we can do at any given moment. Why? Because prayer is talking to God! Our all-knowing, Heavenly Dad and God of victory, breakthrough, supernatural insight and so much more.
One of the many examples demonstrating the great power of earnestly seeking God in prayer can be seen throughout Peter’s miraculous escape from prison in Acts 12:1-19.
In these verses, Herod was looking for individuals belonging to the church he could that arrest with the intention of having them persecuted. Peter was arrested and thrown into prison.
If this had happened nowadays, there would be various plans of action that could be taken in order to ensure that a person wrongfully accused would be let go or at the very least be given a fair trial. For example, they would be given access to a lawyer and other forms of legal support.
However, while there may be a range of options today, this certainly wasn’t the case for Peter’s friends! It was up to King Herod and the outcome of the public trial that awaited him. In other words, there was nothing at all that they could do.
Even more, if you didn’t think that the situation could get any worse, Peter was not only bound in chains, but also guarded by four squads of four soldiers. This meant that the possibility for even an escape would be nearly impossible.
You may be wondering, what did Peter’s friends did in response to his seemingly impossible situation? Did they just give up given the reality of his situation?
Not in the slightest! Verse 5 tells us that the church didn’t just pray for Peter once or twice, but that they diligently spent time in prayer, seeking God earnestly on his behalf.
In the next few verses, we read of the outcome of the Church’s intercession.
While the church was praying, an angel came to Peter in the middle of the night. As the angel spoke to Peter waking him up, the chains fell straight off his wrists! Then, just as if this was a normal thing to do, Peter put on his clothes and sandals and followed the angel out of prison. How crazy, out of this world and miraculous is this?! It was almost so unbelievable that the scripture says that even Peter had initially thought that he was seeing a vision!
Then, once Peter realised what had happened, he went to the house of Mary where many people had gathered and were praying. As Peter knocked on the door, the servant girl recognised his voice. She was so overjoyed that before even opening the door, she ran back to tell the others.
However, upon hearing the servant girl’s had to say, those at the house did not believe her, claiming that she was out of her mind. Then, as she continued to insist, they said that it must be his angel – in other words, they still did not believe! In the meantime, Peter continued to knock until finally the door was opened. The people were astonished and listened in awe as Peter explained all that had happened.
While details of Peter’s escape are incredible, I want to focus on the actions of those who had gathered to pray. You see, while they had been praying in the supernatural, asking for God to hear their prayers and rescue Peter, when it really came down to it and their prayers had been answered, they simply did not believe it!
Can you see how this account of Peter’s miraculous escape highlights not only the importance and power of prayer, but also the importance of then believing that God will actually bring a move of His Spirit?
As disciplers, we are invited to wrestle in prayer and intercession on behalf of the people we disciple. Intercession is more powerful than our intervention. God brings miracles breakthrough when we intercede!
Now the power of prayer has been established, we will explore fasting in the next blong, another powerful method of intercedence.
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