Step Towards Transformation
James 5:16 (KJV)…16 … pray one for another
You don’t have to go to them physically. I’m talking about in your private time. We should not just be focusing on our needs, our goals and our dreams. We need to take time every day to pray for others. Look around at who’s in your life: the neighbour that seems down- the co-worker that’s struggling, that person you heard about that has cancer. They didn’t come up by accident. God brought them across your path. He’s counting on you to lift them up.
“But Bro Melwyn, I need somebody to pray for me”; YES But when you pray for others, you are sowing a seed for God to help you.
Illustration of Job: When Job was overcome with difficulties, his world turned upside down. He understood this principle. He didn’t just pray for himself. He went out and prayed for his friends. He turned his focus away from his own needs and started praying for others.
The scripture says:
Job 42:10 (NIV)..10 after Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before.
Could it be that if you would take time to pray for others, then what you’re struggling with would turn around- your health, dreams, breakthroughs would show up?
Galatians 6:2 (ESV)..2 bear one another’s burdens
We weren’t meant to carry the load on our own; we need each other. People are lonely, they’ve been through disappointments, they’re dealing with illnesses, they have stress and pressure that we know nothing about;
When you pray for them, it helps lighten the load. Your prayers cause the angels to go to work; chains that are holding them back begin to loosen, the forces of darkness begin to lose their grip.
It may not happen overnight, but your prayer is making a difference; it might be what’s keeping them going, even if they don’t know you’re praying. You may not get any credit, but:
Matthew 6:6 (NASB)…6 … your father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
When I meet people, the favourite thing I like they tell me- it’s not- I like listening to you or you encouraged me or you helped me. That’s good. I’m grateful. But my favorite thing is when they say, “Melwyn, I’m praying for you.”
When you pray for someone, you’re not just sending good wishes.
Revelation 8:1-4 (NIV)…1 when he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour… 3 another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all God’s people, on the golden altar in front of the throne. 4 the smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God
In the book of revelation, John described what he saw in heaven. How there were angels all around the throne, constantly singing and worshiping, saying holy holy holy but in chapter 8 there was silence in heaven for thirty minutes.
There was all this singing, all this worshiping. Then all of the sudden the angels stopped singing. The heavenly hosts were silenced. What could be so important that heaven came to a standstill? Was something wrong? Was there an emergency? No, all of heaven stopped to hear the prayers coming up from God’s people.
Verse 4 says the smoke of the incense together with the prayers of the saints went up before God.
Here’s how powerful prayer is; all of heaven stopped to hear the prayers coming up from God’s people.
Your prayers go up like incense before the throne of God. You may think- nobody’s listening or God’s not concerned about you, or you’re wasting your time now.
No. When you pray just imagine -the angels get quiet, the musicians stop playing. Gabriel says to God, “I have silenced everything because I hear a prayer coming up from one of your children. Somebody believes you can do the impossible. Somebody’s counting on you to heal a friend from cancer; somebody believes you can turn a child around to break an addiction.”
When you pray powerful things happen. All of heaven stops. The creator of the universe comes to attention. That’s when supernatural things take place.
When you pray red seas are parted. When you pray you can overcome those illnesses.
I’m asking you to not just pray for yourself pray for others. Use this power to help somebody else reach their highest potential.
Illustration of Peter: in Acts 12, king Herod was against the church:
Acts 12:1-4 (NIV)…1 it was about this time that king Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. 2 he had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword. 3 when he saw that this met with approval among the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also.. 4 after arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each… 5 so Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.
King Herod had not only arrested believers but he had James killed. When he saw how much pleased the Jews, he was planning on doing the same thing to Peter. He arrested Peter and put him in the deepest dungeon, the most secure place.
But on the night before Peter was to go to trial verse 5 says the church was earnestly praying for Peter. The believers had gathered in a house. They spent the night asking God to help their friend and to somehow bring him out. Asking God to make a way. While they were praying:
Acts 12:7 (NIV)…7 suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up.
Peter wasn’t praying, he was sleeping, but he had friends who were praying. While they were praying in the middle of the night an angel showed up at the prison and woke Peter up. Peter wasn’t praying he was sleeping. Maybe he was too tired, too discouraged but he had friends who were praying. When the angel woke him up the chains fell off his wrist. They walked past the first set of guards. Nobody saw them they came to the big iron gates. They opened on their own accord.
Acts 12:7-10 (NIV)..7 … “quick, get up!” He said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists.8 “wrap your cloak around you and follow me,” the angel told him. 9 Peter followed him out of the prison… 10 they passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it.
Peter’s life was spared.
What’s interesting is that the bible specifies that people were praying for Peter, but it doesn’t say that anybody was praying for James; they were in the same circumstances, but had totally different results.
While we rejoice over what God did for Peter, i wonder if James would have had people praying for him
My challenge is -don’t let there be a James in your life. Let all of your family, friends, co-workers be Peters, covered in prayer; ask God to strengthen, help, protect them, pray that they’ll accomplish their dreams, pray that they’ll leave their mark on this generation.
Your prayer can make the difference; cause the angel to show up. When you go to God on somebody else’s behalf, heaven comes to attention; God is concerned about what concerns you.
Some people don’t have the faith to believe on their own; they may not be living right, they don’t think they deserve it, but because you’re honouring God, took the time to pray, God will bless them for your sake. You have a gift; you can help someone else succeed. The addiction will be broken; the right people will show up.
Are you using your gift?
Life is too short to live only thinking about your own dreams, goals, needs; that’s a shallow way to live. You’ll never be truly fulfilled that way, because you need other people to stand in faith with you. When you develop this habit of praying for others, God will make sure that there will always be plenty of people praying for you.
You are 10 times more powerful when you have somebody praying for you.
That’s why every morning I pray for your dreams. I pray for your goals, for your family, for health, for freedom, for abundance. I pray for everyone that’s a part of our ministry. I may not know your name but God does.
Some nights before I go to bed, I’ll pray for all the people that are hurting in the world.
Illustration: Recently one gentleman came up to me. He was a from a different faith. He was dressed very nice. He told how he and his had come to our church once and how they’ve learned about God. It’s helped him to overcome some difficulties. I thanked him for taking the time to tell me. As i was leaving, i said almost in passing i’m going to be praying for you. He looked at me so genuinely with these tears starting to come down his cheeks. He said, “why would you pray for me you don’t even know me. I don’t come from your same faith.” I said, “none of that matters. I know what God wants and that’s why you came across my path”
You don’t meet people by accident, God puts people in our lives, causes us to notice certain people;
Illustration: Maybe at the grocery store, you see that person that looks down. They look lonely. Don’t see him as a James. Turn him into a Peter. Under your breath pray, “Lord bless them and strengthen them. Help them to live in victory”
Illustration: For long my wife prayed for a girl. She started running with the wrong crowd. Ended up on choreographing dance shows in front of idols. My wife could have thought too bad, nothing i can do about it. She’s off course. Instead every time she saw her ,under her breath she prayed, “God help her to get back on course. God help her to fulfill her destiny.” Just a simple prayer.
This went on month after month. Didn’t look like anything was happening. Looked like she was wasting her breath but when you pray things are changing behind the scenes. God is at work. Your prayers are going up to the throne like incense. One Sunday out of the blue, this girl showed up at the church. She sat in the very back. My wife told how she had been praying for her all these months. That day was a turning point. She felt loved and accepted. It was a few months later that Renuka gave her first choreographed youth dance program here at our church.
From then, she’s been using her gifts and talents for the Lord. Maybe that wouldn’t have happened if my wife had not prayed. Maybe Renuka would still be off course, still going down the wrong path if ruth had not gone before God on her path.
Well Melwyn, she’s just one person. Yes, but you may be the one that God’s counting on. Your faith may be what causes somebody to change their life.
Illustration; That young lady at the office to change her life. Instead of talking about her, instead of judging her, looking at all she’s done wrong, why don’t you take time to pray for her.
Talking about her is not going to help her improve but prayer will break the chains that are holding her back and every morning after you thank God for the day, after your asking for your dreams, for your needs, take time to go to God in prayer for her.
Maybe nobody’s praying, maybe she’s a James. You need to turn her into a Peter. You don’t have to tell her but in your private time ask God to help her. The scripture calls this standing in the gap for people. Some people are too far off course to ever get back on their own. They’re too discouraged. They have too many obstacles. It’s going to take you and me praying for them.
God said in
Ezekiel 22:30 (NLT)..30 … i searched for someone to stand in the gap in the wall so i wouldn’t have to destroy the land
Back in those days cities had huge walls around them to protect them from the enemy but at times there would be a broken place in that wall. Something happened that created a gap. Now the enemy could easily come in. So they would have an armed soldier -one of their most powerful warriors stand in that gap until the wall could be repaired. People all around us have broken down walls. Like Renuka they’ve gotten off course. Or some relationship didn’t work out. Or they’re fighting an illness, depression, loneliness. There’s a breach in their wall.
God is asking you; will you stand in the gap, cover them while they’re down, not let the enemy overtake them?
When you see somebody in need, fighting a battle, don’t be passive; don’t think, “that’s too bad, I feel sorry for them,” be that warrior that stands in the gap. Speak victory over their life; remind the forces of darkness that they cannot have them. The right attitude is, “if you’re messing with them, you’re messing with me, and no weapon formed against me or them is going to prosper.” Lift them up in prayer, let them know that they’re not alone, take time to encourage them.
You’ve had people stand in the gap for you; what’s been given to us, we have a responsibility to give to others.
Illustration: I Talked to a lady 2 weeks back. Her husband had a paralytic stroke. The lady told me the story through tears. Her wall is down. There’s a breach and yes i felt sorry. Yes it broke my heart but feeling sorry is not enough. That’s when you have to make it your mission to stand in the gap. Every morning pray, “Lord strengthen that family. Heal their wounds. Give them beauty for those ashes”
Illustration of Moses: One time, the Israelites got off course; after all God had done for them, delivering them from slavery, parting the red sea, giving them food in the desert. At one point they started worshiping a golden calf:
Exodus 32:8-14 (NIV)..8 they have been quick to turn away from what i commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. They have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it and have said, ‘these are your Gods, Israel, who brought you up out of egypt.’… 10 now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that i may destroy them….
Having wild parties getting drunk, being immoral. God was angry he was going to destroy them but Moses went up on a mountain for forty days. He fasted and prayed asking God for mercy- not for himself but for the Israelites.
Exodus 32:12-14 (NIV)..12 … turn from your fierce anger; relent and do not bring disaster on your people… 14 then the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.
The psalmist said God would have destroyed them, had Moses not stood in the gap for them.
Psalm 106:23 (WYC)..23 …and God said, that he would destroy them; and he would have, if Moses, his chosen man, had not stood in the gap, or the breach, before him; so that he would turn away his anger, lest it destroy the people.
God was ready to destroy these 2 million people, but because one man stood in the gap, God changed his mind.
Will you do like Moses, and stand in the gap for the people around you who are not doing right? It’s easy to criticize, find fault; you can be the one that makes a difference.
If you’re not standing in the gap, most likely, you’ll be standing in judgment.
I’ve made up my mind. I’m going to be a gap stander. I’m going to be a people lifter. I’m going to take time every day to pray people into their destiny
Illustration of Centurion:
Matthew 8:5-6 (NIV)..5 when Jesus had entered capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6 “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.”
He’d travelled a great distance, not to ask for something for himself, but for his servant; this well-respected influential man was standing in the gap for someone that most people back then would have written off. They bought and sold slaves all the time but this commander was different. He loved this servant. I can imagine when he headed out to see Jesus, people asked him, “Why are you going? Do you need healing? Do you need a miracle? Is something wrong with you? He said no. I’m going on behalf of my servant. He was standing in the gap for the least of these- for someone that society would have written off and said they’re not important.
When he arrived Jesus said to him
Matthew 8:10 (NIV)..10 when Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “truly i tell you, i have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.
What’s interesting is –this centurion wasn’t a Jew. He didn’t come from the same faith. Yet Jesus said you have more faith than all these people that have been around me.
This shows that God isn’t looking at what family you come from, how you were raised, how religious you are; What gets God’s attention is when you’re concerned about the least of these. When you stand in the gap for the less fortunate, people that have been dealt an unfair hand, God calls that great faith; that’s when he’ll show up and do amazing things.
Illustration of Joseph: In the scripture, Joseph was falsely accused and put in prison for many years, and then:
Genesis 40:9-14 (NIV)..9 so the chief cupbearer told joseph his dream… 12 “this is what it means,” joseph said to him… 13 within three days pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your position, and you will put pharaoh’s cup in his hand, just as you used to do when you were his cupbearer. 14 but when all goes well with you, remember me and show me kindness; mention me to pharaoh and get me out of this prison… 21 he restored the chief cupbearer to his position… 23 the chief cupbearer, however, did not remember joseph; he forgot him.
All of us have been where the cupbearer was; someone helped us, gave us a good break, prayed for us when we were down, stood in the gap for us. Let’s don’t be like the cupbearer; stand in the gap for somebody else. You’re blessed, now be a blessing.
God answered your prayers. Now pray for somebody else. The truth is none of us got to where we are on our own.
I had my Mom praying for me. Speaking faith into my destiny. I’m seeing favour today because people stood in the gap for me, my siblings.
Now I’m not only praying for my children, I pray for my Grand Children. They’re not even here yet. When my descendants show up, they may not realize it. They’ve already been covered in prayer. They’re going to see good breaks, favour, mercy because I took time to pray for them.
Illustration of Solomon: After David died, his son Solomon was making poor choices:
Solomon got off course. God was going to take the throne away from him but God said to him “Solomon for your father David’s sake, I will show you mercy and I will not do it”
1 Kings 11:11-12 (NIV)…11 so the Lord said to Solomon, “since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which i commanded you, i will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates. 12 nevertheless, for the sake of David your father, i will not do it during your lifetime.
That’s how powerful it is when you not only live a life that honors God but you pray for your seed. You pray for your children.
Ruth and I never dreamed we would be doing ministry. We never dreamed we would be this blessed, this fulfilled. It is because people took time to pray. Somebody did it for us, somebody did it for you. Now let’s do it for somebody else.
Look around to who’s in your life. Are there some James- people that without you praying won’t fulfill their destiny. I’m asking you to turn them into a Peter. Make it your mission to pray for them. Stand in the gap. Ask God to bless them.
If you’ll do this i believe and declare, the seed you sow is going to come back to you. Like Job as you pray for others you’re going to see your prayers answered, your healing come and you come in the fullness of your destiny in Jesus name.