What do you do when you need help? When you need to talk? Or is there a circumstance where you feel like you are “over the top” or your “head is just above water”?……of course the perfect response would be, I pray…I go straight to God! Yes…that is exactly what I would recommend…God for sure has all the answers. If you look at and study scripture, you will find another place God uses to provide help, comfort, and intercessory prayer. We only have to look to Daniel.
If you are not a frequent Bible reader, there is a book about Daniel found in the Old Testament. I cannot recount the whole life and story of Daniel here, but it is important to know that Daniel is a man who loves and serves God, a man of steadfast faith. In fact, his commitment to God and willingness to stand for his belief in Christ gave him favor with the king. His unwavering faith took him from being a captive (slave), and being thrown in the lion’s den, to serving in the palace court. At one point in the story Daniel interprets dreams for a crazy and cruel king, Nebuchadnezzar.
When the king had a dream which his normal magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and astrologers could not interpret, he got so infuriated he sent out an order to kill all interpreters and this included Daniel. Daniel 2:5, “This is what I have firmly decided: If you do not tell me what my dream was and interpret it, I will have you cut into pieces and your houses turned into piles of rubble.” When the king’s interpreters could not interpret the dream, Daniel was told the king had issued a decree to put to death all the “wise men.” Upon hearing this, Daniel went to the king and asked for some time to interpret the dream. Can you imagine how Daniel felt? His circumstances were extreme to say the least. He was going to be killed if he couldn’t tell the king his dream. He was in a bad place, a terrible place in fact.
Do you ever find yourself in a bad place?….not necessarily with murderous threats but a miserable and painful place? I love what Daniel did……..He acted…..he went to the king and asked for time…..then he went home….to his closest friends….Daniel 2:17, “Then Daniel returned to his house and explained the matter to his FRIENDS Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. He urged them to plead for mercy from God of heaven concerning the mystery, so that he and his friends might not be executed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.”
I cannot begin to share the vital role that my closest Christian friends have played in my life. On the Back 9, when I reflect on each phase/hole of the Front 9 of life…..my listening, praying friends have been “a drink in the desert,” “crazy glue,” “chocolate” or a “warm fuzzy blanket”. They have been comfort to say the least and intercessors for sure in times of need and turbulence in my life! Do you see the importance of building relationships of trust with people who love Jesus? Deep relationships with other believers can provide strength and encouragement for you in the toughest of times.
I have found some of the best friends in the world at church. I often hear people say they don’t need to go to church to worship God. I agree. I worship HIM all the time and I am not in church every day or every Sunday. But I can tell you this……God talks throughout His Word about the Church, the body of Christ, and gathering to worship. By heeding this wisdom and learning from my parents the importance of church as a place, not only to worship God and learn and grow, but I realize it is a place that provides friendships. God’s design for you to live life abundantly includes worship and developing friends who are Christ followers….God works through people to accomplish much and that includes…sharing, praying and leaning on and serving each other in friendship. In Matthew 18:20 it states, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Daniel understood this principle…..he lived it and as you read on in the book of Daniel you will find…he was able to interpret the king’s dream. He made it through a very difficult time and his friends prayed with him through that time.
I urge you to understand, we don’t always get what we pray for because we don’t have the “helicopter view”; God does. But if we seek to understand scripture and learn all about God and His provisions for living out a life of significance here on this earth, we will find comfort, peace, joy and, yes, we will find some victories and His sustaining power in our defeats. This is not “rocket science”. It is more a desire to put down our pride in playing God in our own lives and seeking to admit we don’t have all the answers…and acknowledging that God not only has the answers, but He will provide FRIENDS who He uses to help us in difficult places.
Proverbs 27:9, “Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice.” Do you have friends who give heartfelt advice that is helpful, encouraging, pleasant?
Philippians 1:3-5, “I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now”. Do you have friends who you can thank God for every time you think of them? And, can you pray with joy for them because of their partnership in the gospel?
I find on the Back 9, in reflecting on the Front 9, life has storms for everyone….no one is immune…..they come and they go……just ……just like the weather on earth….we have sunny beautiful days and we have days of terrible storms…so goes life…..Christian friends are God’s shelter when storms come upon us! Seek to make like-minded friends today…friends who will…hover and provide the needed prayer, wisdom, and encouragement on those “rainy, windy, and lightening-filled days!”