I made a fantastic discovery, and I am certain you will feel the same way . . . but first, let me set up how I came to it.
She needed me, and I was not there.
I hate that.
But thank goodness for text messages.
Especially when I am out of town far from a loved one, but able to receive a message such as this: "Please connect with Diana!1 She needs you - there is a huge family flare-up today and she is afraid her (adult) son John might harm himself! Big issue between brothers. Her oldest son is calling for an intervention and said 'Mom, you have to help! She said, "Oh Christine isn't here." She is beside herself ... Please reach out to her." That's what the text message read. Of course, I did just that. I asked, she explained, I prayed.
In talking to my very emotional dear friend on the phone, I asked, 'So Diana, if you were sitting across from the Lord, what would you ask him to do for you just now?' Friends, that is a great question to ask someone who asks you to pray for him:
What do you want God to do for you?
It helps the person think concretely and to ask specifically of the God who hears and answers prayer.
When I hung up, I began to think about the best way I could pray for my dear Diana.
I rediscovered a verse I have read many times. Okay I confess. It was another verse I read right over and did not take into my soul. In this case, it is the perfect prayer for my friend; Paul closed his letter to the Philippians with it.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.2
What better thing could I pray/could I ask for my friend - that 'the grace of the Lord be with her spirit'? That deep within her - in the place I like to think of as where her gizzard would be if she had one, where her soul might be located if it was an organ - she would know the peace of God. Because Paul always coupled grace with peace.
Here's the thing-we oft think of grace with our minds . . . that is to say, we understand that we do not really deserve God's favor, but because of his grace, he gave us Jesus; because of the cross, we can have favor with God. Somehow, with hearing it enough, we can comprehend that concept. But how about in our spirits? Has the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ penetrated our souls, so that we are wholly transformed by it?
And so I pray for Diana, 'O Lord, only you can truly comfort my friend. I ask that the grace of the Lord be with her spirit.' Because then, Friends, she will rest when she puts her head on her pillow; she will know that the God who never slumbers nor sleeps is on the job3- she will know it not just in her mind, but rest in that truth in her spirit, in her soul. She will awaken and know that God is trustworthy and she can rest in him.
Today, I pray for you, my friend -
that the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit,
that it rest in and on your spirit -
that you may be saturated with the knowledge in your being,
that God has you . . . God has that which you have entrusted to him.
Keep in mind always: our walk with God must not be reduced to that which we can reason or which we fully understand with our minds. Our minds are finite, God is not. In fact, if we want to live in the ongoing power of grace, we must be a people of the Spirit. It's the Spirit of Christ that stays with us and applies grace to us.4
So, would you like to know a perfect, apt way to pray for others, and for yourself? This is it:
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with his spirit. Amen.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with her spirit. Amen.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with my spirit. Amen.
This is a most fantastic prayer. Don't you agree?
1 - Diana is not her real name
2 - Philippians 4.23
3 - Psalm 121.4
4 - John Piper, https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/grace-to-you-and-grace-with-you