I unloaded my frustrations to my friend Karen while talking on the phone the other day. Sometimes blindness makes me so tired that it just scrapes against the bottom of my soul, and it was one of those days.
I bet you know what I’m talking about; we’ve all had “one of those days.” You know, when you’re so overwhelmed that you can’t even put your jumbled feelings into words?
Well, as I talked more with Karen, she revealed that she felt the same way, but for different reasons. Her Mom had been struggling with cancer, and she felt so overwhelmed she could barely make sense of the her feelings. “I know,” she said, “I’ll pray for you today, and you pray for me! I can handle praying for your situation better than I can figure out how to pray for mine.” I loved that idea. Sometimes I get worn out praying for myself. I get so overwhelmed that I just don’t know what to pray, how to pray, or even if I want to pray. Do you ever feel that way?
When we feel like this, it gives us a perfect opportunity to trade places. We can’t swap places in our situations, but we can trade places in prayer.
God wants us to seek Him for our own needs. When we show that kind of persistence on someone else’s behalf, it invites God’s power to completely overwhelm him or her. And catch this! When we speak those faith-filled words, His power splashes over into our own lives for our own situations. As we become a channel of His grace and provision, God allows that channel to overflow the banks, flooding our lives.
Before the moment I “traded places” in prayer with Karen, I didn’t feel the least bit empowered; all I could see was my unchanging circumstances. However, the instant I poured myself out on her behalf, God’s grace and power swept through me. The Apostle Paul said as much to his friends in Corinth: “For we rejoice when we ourselves are weak but you are strong; this we also pray for, that you be made complete” (2 Corinthians 13:9).
We’re freed from the shackles of self when we pray for others. It’s empowering to carry another’s burden to God! When we do, it strengthens our own spiritual stamina.
Left to ourselves and our own needs, we can become weary and hopeless. But when we pray for someone else, it emboldens us and we receive a hopeful and expectant faith that our own needs will be met.
Oh my friend, if you’re discouraged in prayer, if you’re weary or hurting, let me encourage you to do one thing: trade places. Bearing another’s burden will certainly lighten your own load! “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).
Question: Have you ever seen the power of God when you trade places in prayer? If so, how? Let us know here.