Spiritual Training Cycle: Unity (wk. 8/13)
As a coach, I get a lot of questions. They range from the simple like, “Where are the wallballs,” to the more complex like, “How much weight should I use today?” I love questions. Questions let me know athletes are processing information and trying to get the most from their workouts. But every now and then, right after I’ve fully explained the WOD and demonstrated the movements and walked through appropriate modifications, I’ll hear this – “What are we doing again?” In that moment, I pause to take a deep breath and do my best to stay calm as I respond, “I’m sure you’re asking for a friend.”
Asking for a friend. It’s become this cheeky little saying in our culture. I’m not sure where this originated, but I’m guessing it emerged from a generation or two younger than me. When we “ask for a friend,” we’re typically trying to disguise a question that if we asked would make us look foolish or feel embarrassed. Asking what we’re doing in a workout after I’ve just explained it is probably going to let me know you weren’t listening. But there are times in the gym to ask for a friend. For example, if one of your fellow athletes is new and anxious to ask a question themselves, you should ask for a friend. If someone is unsure of what they’re doing, by all means ask for a friend. And if they’ve voiced a concern to you that you can’t answer, don’t sit there trying to figure out what to do. Ask for a friend.
In our spiritual life, there are times we should ask God for a friend – that is, to offer prayers for someone else. Prayer is our way of communicating with God. Just like we talk with our friends and loved ones, we talk with God the same way, but through prayer. And of the many things we can pray to God about, none may be as life changing as praying for other people. This is known as intercessory prayer. When we intercede, we are coming forth on behalf of someone else. You could do that by praying for someone you just met, asking for prayer requests in small group, or taking mental note of something that came up in conversation with a friend or loved one.
The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
Sometimes those prayers may be needs, other times they may be praises. The community of Jesus followers grows collectively when we pray for others. And while we pray for others, we must remember that ultimately, we want God’s will to be done. If your friend doesn’t get the new job, it’s not because you prayed wrong. But know that your prayers for others matters. James writes, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:16). God wants a deeper relationship with you. He wants you to know how loved and valuable you are in this world. As you grow in your relationship with Him, you’ll recognize the value of helping others grow by praying for them. So, the next time you talk to God, start your prayer like this – “God, I’m asking for a friend.”
Questions for Reflection:
If God asked you to pray for someone, what do you think He would ask you to pray for?
What do your requests to God reveal about your priorities, goals, desires, and heart?