She Needs You

0 comments Posted on November 1, 2021

by Heather MacFadyen

I don’t remember what holiday it was. I know it wasn’t important enough for my husband to take off work, but the kids were out of school. The boys and I were hanging out at home when my phone rang. I answered and heard her crying. She simply asked, “Can I come over?”

When I opened the door, I saw my friend and her husband. He held her hand, looked at me, and said, “She needs you.” Then his head dropped in shame, admitting he had returned to an affair. Overcome by the Holy Spirit, I reached out and took both of their hands and said, “This does not have to end in divorce. I’ve known many couples with infidelity in their story who have found healing. The story of God’s love is persistent in the face of our continual unfaithfulness. If you want to restore your relationship, God will walk alongside you and embolden your way.”

In that moment my friend and her husband needed to know they weren’t the only ones who’ve experienced this particular pain. They needed me to build up hope.

Have you ever had a friend reach out to you in a hard season and you didn’t know how to help? You felt ill-equipped with what to do or what to say. Maybe you tried to be supportive and did more damage than good.

How do we help without hurting?

A few years ago I attended a yearlong course learning biblically based prayer tools. The goal of the class was to equip us to help others through prayer. Part of our training was learning about our identity as children of God and the authority we hold in the spiritual realm.

In the unseen, spiritual world, God has the last say—the ultimate authority over any other spiritual being. The Greek word for “authority” is exousia, and it is used 103 times in the New Testament. The New Bible Dictionary defines it as “rightful, actual, and unimpeded power to act, or to possess, control, use or dispose of, something or somebody.”5

Because of Jesus’s work on the cross, we are grafted into the family of God, coheirs with Christ. Like it says in John 1:12, “To all who did receive [Christ], to those who believed in his name, he gave the right [authority—exousia] to become children of God.” We are given authority and identity to do God’s work on this earth. To bring the kingdom of heaven here.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Eph. 6:12). If there is a spiritual battle, will God leave us defenseless? Absolutely not! We have a role in the battle, and He equips with the power and authority of the Holy Spirit.

When Jesus walked this earth, he ministered to others. He also invited the disciples to join him. He said, “Whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I’m going to the Father. . . . And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever” (John 14:12, 16 ESV).

With the help of the Holy Spirit, you can “put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” (Eph. 6:11). But what does that look like in our everyday moments?

Imagine you are having coffee with a friend. She shares that she is worried about whether her son’s behavior is normal. Should she seek professional help, or will he grow out of it? Of course you will listen as she shares. Maybe you’ll ask how she feels and what she needs from you. Then like a lot of us do, you may offer an “I’ll pray for you,” but you never do.

What if before you parted ways, you asked if you could pray a blessing over her? Not just praying to God about her situation (often termed “intercessory prayer”). But listening to God for her and then praying a blessing over her from what you hear. Right there in the coffee shop (or living room with little ones running around).

There are a couple forms of blessing prayer that I have learned. One is to bless someone with Scripture that God brings to mind. For example, if someone is anxious, you can pray a blessing of Psalm 23: “The Lord is your Good Shepherd. He restores your soul.” Or pray a reminder that Jesus’s yoke is easy and light (Matt. 11:30).

The second form of blessing prayer is to pray in the opposite spirit. If the person is battling shame, pray a spirit of true identity in Christ. If someone is fearful, pray a spirit of peace over her.

As uncomfortable as it can be to pray for your friends, imagine my surprise when I felt prompted to pray a blessing over my dishwasher repairman. He and I chatted while he worked on the dishwasher. He shared some of the hard parts of his story. How he had been physically ill and couldn’t work for years. His challenging family life and losing his kids in a custody battle. After he finished fixing the dishwasher, before heading out the front door, I asked him if I could pray for him. And even more awkwardly, if I could put a hand on his shoulder.

Then, instead of starting to speak, I stopped and silently asked God what He wanted to say to encourage this man. And I listened. As words came to my mind, I began to pray them out loud. When I finished, I opened my eyes to see this grown man wiping away tears.

That’s God’s power at work through me to those around me. Not because I have some unique gift, but because I considered asking God before I rushed in with what I thought was needed.

I’ve done more damage to relationships when, in pride, I attempted to solve problems. And I’ve been overwhelmed when I think it’s up to me to fix a friend’s situation. But there has been grace and freedom when I stop and ask God first.

May we humbly ask and accept help. Intentionally seek out safe people to vulnerably share feelings. Extend invitations to walk alongside someone just a step ahead. And provide the kind of community that gives space to process, heal, and bless others.

Heather MacFadyen, Don’t Mom Alone, “Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group,” © 2021, “Used by permission.”

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