On one of those days, as he [Jesus] was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with him to heal. And behold, some men were bringing on a bed a man who was paralyzed, and they were seeking to bring him in and lay him before Jesus, but finding no way to bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the midst before Jesus. Luke 5:17-19
Most loving Jesus, I begin today thankful for the wide open access we've been given to the throne of grace, for there are a few friends I hasten to bring to you this morning. Though I don't have to rip tiles off a roof to bring them to you, I would if I had to; for you alone have the authority to forgive sins and the power to heal every disease. You alone have the Spirit without measure. You alone care for the poor, bind broken hearts, free captives, release prisoners, bestow God's favor, comfort mourners, provide for grievers, and bring beauty, gladness, and praise (Isa. 61:1-3). What a Savior you are! And everything you do, you do with so much joy. (Pray with me for these friends and add your list as well)
Jesus, for missionary friends facing a fresh round of persecution, decreasing financial support and a child in rebellion... any one of these issues can be a big "stressor," but all three added together are simply overwhelming. Bring your mercy and might to bear in clear and tangible ways. In particular I pray for their son. Reveal yourself to him in the midst of this crisis. May his parents gospel become his gospel. Stun him with your goodness and grace... bring him to his true home.
Jesus, for married friends who used to live face-to-face in kindness and affection, but now live back-to-back with rancor and stubbornness, raise the relational dead, O God of resurrection. I don't see any hope for their marriage(s) unless the gospel comes in with fresh power. In each of these marriages, humble somebody, Jesus, soften one spouse so the other spouse will see beauty and dare to hope again. Write stories of redemption and restoration in these marriages which reveal your deep affection and passionate joy for your most unworthy Bride, even us.
Jesus, for my friend who lives with three hours of sleep each night, unrelenting depression, and haunting memories of inconceivable abuse, I simply cry for mercy, Jesus. How long, O Lord? How long before my friend knows the freedom and healing you alone can give? His story is the most broken and tragic I've ever heard. He loves you in amazing ways. Hold him close, Lord Jesus.
This I know for sure, Jesus: you do all things well, even if you don't do some things the way I want you to. So very Amen I pray, in your trustworthy and tender name. (Don't forget to spend a little more time praying for a few of your friends.)