My prayer is that light will flood your hearts and that you will understand the hope that was given to you when God chose you. Then you will discover the glorious blessings that will be yours together with all of God’s people. Ephesians 1:18 (CEV)
What is the difference between praying for people and praying with them? I never really thought much about it until I read an article about a persecuted Christian the other day.
When we pray for them, usually we're praying a personal prayer for that person. We are praying for God to work in their lives - for their health, their safety, and for God to meet their needs. We often ask God to deliver them from the circumstances in which they find themselves. But what we don't realize is that those circumstances might be the very things God is using to complete the bigger picture - to save their family, to bring about a deeper relationship or healing in their lives or to save many others.
When we pray with a person, we are uniting our hearts with theirs and asking God for the same things they are. For example, this persecuted Christian had spent many years in prison for his faith. But he always asked people to pray with him - that God would move in his land and use his persecution to bring many souls to Christ! He never asked people to pray for his personal protection or release from prison!
It's not wrong to pray for a person when they're going through difficult times. We've all been there - struggling and seeking a way out of the painful circumstances. But maybe we're missing the mark a bit because we fail to see what God sees in the situation.
I love Laura Story's song, Blessings. "What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights Are Your mercies in disguise?"
Lord teach me to see things through your eyes and to pray with those who are in difficult circumstances for your will to be accomplished. Amen