Saturday we’re having a day of prayer at the church. This provides an opportunity for the church family to set aside distractions, meet together, and pray for each other and for the needs of our church.
If you do not have other obligations, please try to come, if even for part of the time. Shy about praying? Come and join in as others pray.
Bear Your Own Burdens
Last week’s post brought up some questions about what it means for a church family to share the burdens and blessings of its members. How do we bear one another’s burdens and show compassion for the body of Christ we have been placed in?
Bearing burdens does mean that you dump your worries, concerns and problems onto someone else and expect him to fix everything for you. Galatians 6:5 reminds us that ‘every man shall bear his own burden.’
Remember, God allows troubles to either correct us or to teach us. He promises He will not give us more than we can bear. (1 Corinthians 10:13) and promises that these things are to glorify God and cause Christian growth in the believer. (2 Corinthians 4:17.)
Bear One Another’s Burdens
But we are also instructed to bear one another’s burdens. (Galatians 6:2) There are times when we are so overwhelmed by heartache, sadness, grief, disappointment, or fear that we need others to pray with us as we go through a trial. God wants us to ‘rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.’ (Romans 12:15) People do not know to pray for you if you do not let them know that you need prayer.
We have many first generation Christians in our church. A number of them have been saved for only a few months and are excited to learn about Christ and godly living. These dear brothers and sisters live their joys and trials in front of us. If someone is having a rough week their burden is shared with the church family so we can all join in and pray with them.
Our pastors encourage a transparency which is both refreshing and challenging. If I am struggling with something in my life and share that with others, won’t that case them to be discouraged? I kind of had that idea for a long time. If you are in leadership, you should appear as if you have it all together, regardless of any struggles you may be having.
Without Me Ye Can Do Nothing
How does that model dependency on Christ? It doesn’t! If others cannot see that leaders as well as the average church attender must depend totally on Christ, we are not pointing people in the right direction. Christ tells us in John 15:5, “Without me ye can do nothing.” Nothing. Not one thing.
How to Connect with the Church Family
So what’s involved in bearing one another’s burdens?
Get to know one another. Come to church. Come to prayer meeting. Invite people over or out for coffee. Participate in special meetings, studies, and events sponsored by the church. Take a few moments to talk with people after church. We’re not typically going to meet someone and have them immediately pour out their burdens for us to share. It takes a bit of time and effort to connect to people in the church.
If you are prevented from regularly attending church, ask for the church prayer sheet. Contact one of the pastors and ask for your requests to be included on the weekly prayer sheet. Make this a reciprocal ministry – you ask others to pray for your burdens, and you pray for theirs. Make sure you understand enough to know who and what you are praying for. Ask for updates when you see that person. (If it’s something too personal just ask for an unspoken prayer request to be remembered – God knows what it is!)
Praying throughout the Day
Some people make lists and divide requests so some are prayed for each day. Others pray for urgent matters of health and safety and others may remember requests as God brings a person or situation to mind. When I am unable to sleep at night I often ask God if there is someone specific He wants me to pray for. I pray as I drive along in the car or as I’m busy with mundane chores at home. It’s not an exact science – we just need to be talking with God throughout the day.
So as we refine this process of showing compassion to each other by bearing one another’s burdens, let’s ask God to help us model our dependency on Christ as by praying for the needs of others as we ask them to pray for us.