|This article is authored by Dick Leggatt, President of Derek Prince Ministries – USA and comprises his May 9, 2013 Newsletter.|
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Have you ever had to face a severe trial all alone? Challenging, isn’t it? Maybe you know someone who is right now struggling to overcome huge obstacles — and doing so all by themselves?
Take just a few minutes to think about what that person is facing alone. Then ask yourself: Could my prayer support lighten their load in any way? You bet it could! Maybe in greater ways than you might ever imagine. And that’s the topic of this letter.
What Difference Do I Make?
Recently, I was randomly paging through the journal section of my Day-Timer®, and my eyes fell on an entry I had made way back on September 8, 1995. It was a reflection I had written concerning Matthew 26:36–ff, the passage where Jesus told His disciples how deeply troubled He was and asked them to watch and pray. What happened instead? They fell fast asleep. Here is what I wrote in that entry:
The question arises: would the outcome for Jesus have been any different had they stayed awake? Jesus still would have gone to the cross — God had ordained it. But somehow His agony and grief would have been lightened had they stood with Him.
That’s an aspect of prayer — in some cases, it may not necessarily change the result, or even the circumstances. But it somehow lightens the load for our brothers and sisters who are facing turmoil — if they know people are standing with them.
“Could You Not Watch?”
The Gethsemane story of the sleeping disciples appears in three of the four gospel accounts: Matthew, Mark and Luke. Matthew and Mark both report the same reason why the disciples were slumbering when Jesus came to check on them: “…their eyes were heavy” (Matthew 26:43). Mark uses the same words, although the NASB version says, “…for their eyes were very heavy” (Mark 14:40). But Luke 22:45 gives us an added insight into the reason they weren’t able to stay awake: “He [Jesus] found them sleeping from sorrow.”
These men were going through their own fiery trial, and there was even more turmoil ahead for them — and especially for their Master. These were puzzled disciples of a Savior who said He was about to suffer and die rather than overthrowing the Romans and reigning as the conquering King of Israel. They were troubled and confused. (Mark says in 14:40 that when Jesus asked them why they were sleeping, “…they did not know what to answer Him.”)
But Luke’s words — “sleeping from sorrow” — allow us to view them with sympathy rather than condemnation. These three disciples with Jesus at Gethsemane were emotionally worn out at that moment of crisis.
Even so, it would have encouraged Jesus enormously to find them actively interceding on His behalf rather than sleeping on the job. Do you see how important your prayers and support can be to someone?
In the Press
The following excerpt gives us some added insight on the depth of Jesus’ need for support in the agony He was enduring. It is taken from Derek Prince’s teaching series on Hebrews:
“How was the fear of the Lord manifested in Jesus in His prayers? We’re going back to Hebrews 5:7 where it says He was heard because of His “holy fear.” When it speaks about Jesus praying with strong groans and tears, what scene immediately comes to your mind? Gethsemane — that’s right.
If we wish to know how the fear of the Lord was expressed in the prayer of Jesus, we have to turn to the passage which describes His prayer in Gethsemane. Matthew 26 is the more complete version of this particular incident. Beginning at verse 36: “Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane…”
Gethsemane means “a press.” What kind of a press? An olive press — where they trampled on the olives and the beautiful olive oil flowed out. In order for the oil to come out, the olives had to be trampled — just torn up. Torn to shreds. That’s significant. The name is no accident. Gethsemane is the place where the olive oil was squeezed out of our Lord.
It’s such a tremendously moving thing. I think it’s touching that He wanted three men with Him. What a responsibility to be one of those three men. And how they failed! They just went to sleep.”
How desperately Jesus needed those men to stand with Him in His hour of deepest need. The same is true for us. We need people standing with us when we are going through our toughest trials. Jesus needed it. We need it. Perhaps someone you know needs it right now as well. Can you lighten their load today?
“He Doesn’t Have to Take It Alone”
As I was reflecting on the topic of this letter, I immediately thought of a favorite anecdote. The following story, one that my father–in-law, Don Basham, used regularly in his teaching, came so vividly to me. (Don was a close friend and associate of Derek Prince, and he regarded Derek as his mentor.) I believe Derek would have said “Amen” to this story which Don shared in a message called, “Willing to Forgive.” I hope it will touch you as well.
“One of the most moving stories I’ve ever heard concerned a young man who rose brilliantly in the ministry. He was highly successful and popular, even with other ministers. Everyone felt he would eventually be made a bishop in his district. But in the midst of all that success and popularity, he fell into Satan’s snare: he became involved in immorality and was soon found out.
So at a district convention where the denomination conducted its business, a committee was convened to revoke this man’s ordination. At a meeting comprised of all the ministers in the district, the committee called this young preacher forward to stand before them while the charges against him were read. A tearful young man, broken and humiliated, came forward and stood with his head bowed before the committee.
It was a moment charged with emotion. Everything was quiet—very strained and tense. Then as the chairman started to read the charges against the young minister, suddenly a beloved retired bishop stood up in the midst of the congregation and came walking down to the front to stand next to this young pastor. The chairman stopped reading the charges.
“Bishop Smith, is there something you want to say in this man’s behalf? You know this is a very serious proceeding.”
The bishop replied, “No, you go right ahead and do what you have to do. This young man has sinned, and you’re right in revoking his license and ordination; and he has no choice but to stand here and take what you’re doing.” Then standing still closer to the young minister, the old bishop put his arm around the young man’s shoulder, and looking up at the judging committee, added, “But he doesn’t have to stand here and take it all alone!””
In Their Moment of Trial
Does that story bring anyone to your mind — maybe someone who desperately needs your support and prayers? It could be that what this person is going through is their own fault. Maybe the prevailing sentiment is that they may even deserve whatever pain they’re experiencing because of their wrongdoing.
Let’s put all of those feelings aside for a moment. Ask yourself one question: what would it mean to that person to know you are standing with them in their moment of trial? Can you commit yourself to support them — even if it is from afar? If you know the Lord is moving you to stand with them right now, please join me in the following prayer.
Lord, that person I see in my mind’s eye right now is desperate for help, facing their trial all alone. In Your name, Jesus, I take my place beside them. In my mind, I see myself placing my arm around their shoulder as I stand with them before Your throne of grace.
Lord, be merciful to them. Pour out Your love and grace upon them. Above all, please let them know that You are standing with them in their moment of trial. Lord, please hear my prayer for them, and use what I am saying right now to lighten their load today.
Let Them Know
You’ve taken the first step. With your prayer, you have already begun the process of lightening their load. Who knows what redemptive results you may have set in motion?
Now take the next step. In the days ahead, plan to get in touch with that person and let them know you are standing with them. If you can, do something tangible to show your support—a card, a gift, a phone call, or flowers. If they are close enough to contact directly, make a point to visit them and pray for them in person… or at least just put your arm around them and let them know you are standing with them.
Maybe we at DPM can help. We want to offer you a free downloadable message by Derek Prince entitled, “Commanded to Love,” in which Derek provides a biblical base for the action you have taken. Enjoy listening to it yourself, and then copy to CD or other device to share with that person whose burden you are helping to lift. Who knows? It might be just the gift they need to encourage them. Please click here to download. It is our privilege to supply you with this free gift as a small token of our appreciation for the way you have stood with DPM in the work we are doing.
Please let me take this opportunity to thank you again for your prayers and financial gifts. On more than one occasion, you have been one of those faithful friends who have encouraged us through your show of support.
In the days ahead, we will be praying for you — that as you respond to the message of this letter and take steps to lighten someone else’s load, you will sense the Lord’s pleasure and delight. Your response is a step of obedience to the command of Scripture to “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).
So enter boldly into this service for Jesus Christ—and lighten someone’s load today!
P.S. We can’t thank you enough for your love, your prayers and your financial support for us. You are enabling us to bring life-giving teaching like the freedom we highlight in this letter. Please take advantage of our offer, simply by clicking here to download the free message by Derek Prince. We know it will bless you!