A question came to mind a few days ago regarding prayer. The question--'what have you lost because you haven't prayed for your friends?" I know that might sound strange, especially when most prayers are generally directed at our own well-being instead of the well-being of others.
Evangelist Brian Fossett reminded me the other day in a devotional about how God responded to Job WHEN he prayed for his friends. Even the kind of friends that did not give the best counsel or comfort in the worst days of his life on earth. The Word of God says in Job 42:10;12--"and the LORD restored Job's losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed, the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before...Now the LORD blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning..." Fossett shares this--"most people focus on the pain and loss Job endured, but few get to these verses at the end of the book. Our God is the God of restoration. The Lord has no shortage of blessings." "These verses are evidence that selfless prayer moves the very heart of God. When Job sincerely and unselfishly prayed for his friends, God not only restored his losses, but He also doubled what he previously had. If you want to be blessed, live your life for others." end After all, wasn't that the point of Jesus' message and ministry to us? Where would we be today if Jesus had not prayed for us (John 17)? Where would we be if He chose to no longer intercede for us today (Hebrews 7:25)? Not only lost in this world but the poorer for it. When I refer to the poor, I don't necessarily mean monetarily or materially. There are many who have millions who are bankrupt in their soul. The 'things' they possess have come to possess them. This so-called 'gain' prioritizes what is important to 'me' and 'mine' without much, if any regard for others. There is little or no room for anything other than 'my' thing.
In a culture that prioritizes climbing the ladder of success and promotes clawing your way to the top regardless of cost or consequence, it is a sobering reminder of what is important when the loss is realized as a result of the ladder being used resting against the wrong wall. Wasted time, wasted effort, wasted resources, wasted life!
What losses have you accumulated because your focus has been too narrow, too small, too selfish? What losses are continuing to 'pile up' because of a refusal to abandon the practices of your former life (1 Corinthians 3:11-20)? I speak of being saved and choosing to live the way you were before you met the One who has promised to provide all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19)?
Better yet, what gains lie ahead for you personally because of your personal investment in others besides your family or closest friends?
As a man of God once shared--"what you and I do is what we believe, everything else is just religious talk." And talk is cheap when compared to the cost of denying yourself; laying down your old life and taking up the cross to follow Jesus daily
God provides some Christian counsel for us to be better prepared for a very personal audit of our soul in service (2 Corinthians 5:10). Will the record reveal that life was consumed by what mattered most to me and mine or will it reveal that my heart made room for God and others?
Remember, 'tis only one life, will soon be past, only what is done for Jesus will last."
Before God blessed Job and restored both his health and wealth, Job prayed for his friends. Christian, there is much to be gained by giving yourself to praying for others consistently. What 'beyond containment' kind of blessing is being forfeited because of a lack of prayer or misguided prayer?
What restoration project has the Lord in mind for you in this current hour of distress and discouragement? He is not waiting on funding. He is waiting on you and I to deny ourselves and follow Him with all our heart!
May the Lord bless you richly as you bless others with kindness, generosity, and forgiveness through prayer that flows from a heart of love and grace!
Better days lie ahead for those who pray for their friends. Job discovered that! I trust you will also!