Spiritually Speaking: Healthy Distractions

“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16, KJV). 

How many times can you recall telling someone, “I’ll be praying for you!” but after maybe the first day (or less), you completely forgot to do so?

Now hold that thought. Before you dive into that sea of guilt, let me continue. I’m going a different route with this.

Truth is, we all have way too much on our minds and schedules.

Life keeps us so busy, so distracted, yet so focused on our own needs and the immediate needs of our environment that we barely have room for anything else to squeeze in.

If we’re honest, we will admit we hardly have time to pray for our own issues.

We mean well when we tell a friend they’ll be in our prayers, but we often tend to be too easily distracted to follow through.

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people” 1 Timothy 2:1 (ESV).

But, speaking from experience, I can vouch for the relief it can be to pray for someone else.

Jerome, Arizona

In the past couple of months I’ve had times of intense intercession with friends regarding the heartache and struggles they were going through.

Maybe it sounds silly, but I am so grateful I stopped what I was doing–stopped thinking of all that I “needed” to do, for just a few minutes in order to share a time of prayer to our mutual Mediator.

In exchange, my own problems seemed to shrink in comparison and necessity. My concerns became much more manageable.

Praying for someone else’s needs gave me clarity and peace for my own, because I was distracted, in a good way.

I, subconsciously, got out of my own box and away from my own stress, resulting in a win for both me and my friend.

Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another (Romans 12:10 KJV).

In Luke 22, Jesus tells Peter, and the rest of us, that He has prayed for us, that our faith would not fail against the enemy’s pressures. 

Ever since, Christ has continued to intercede for His people whenever they come to Him for various issues.

Therefore, it is His will that we learn from His example and mediate for others.

Many mighty men of God also interceded for others during Bible times. 

Moses stepped between God and the Israelites on numerous accounts; Abraham asked the Lord to spare his nephew from destruction; in spite of the dangers for his own life, Daniel prayed for days for deliverance from the oppression his people faced; and Paul in the New Testament wrote in many of his epistles that he was praying for those receiving his messages.

God is pleased by our obedience when we put others first, as the scripture states “let each esteem other better than themselves,” and often may indirectly answer our hearts’ desires in return. 

As members of Christ’s body, we should all consider ourselves as one, all working together but playing different roles.

If just one part of the body goes weak, it affects the whole system.

When you pull a muscle or injure some part of your body, notice how the rest of your muscles compensate for the weakness. We never understand how necessary a certain part of our body is until it becomes feeble in some way.

Remember what the Apostle Paul said, “lift up the hands which hang down…” (Hebrews 12:12, KJV).
Yes, it is true we are called to be on display to the world, but the Lord also commands us to encourage our fellow Christians beside us. What good is our testimony if we can’t be “distracted” from our agendas long enough to comfort a believer in travail?
Ecclesiastes 4:9 (KJV) states: “Two are better than one.”
By serving others – even through a simple prayer – we are actually building our own faith. Nothing comes from fretting over our individual difficulties, especially after we have committed them to God. 
But that’s exactly what the enemy wants, for us to get so hung up on our personal hurdles that we don’t allow ourselves to be healthily distracted to pray others through their battles.
1 Peter 1:22 (KJV) “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently.”

This isn’t a doctor-certified, five-step plan or anything, but try this the next time you’re in prayer. Use your hand to count from thumb to index finger, and ask God to touch four other people before you ask Him for a personal issue. 

Save your pinky for last — your personal request. 

Before long, you may start counting the fingers on your other hand too.

There is abundant power in prayer, especially when we take the focus off of our own lives and direct positive thoughts toward our brothers and sisters in Christ.

We all want someone to be there for us when we are going through a hard time. We all love to hear that someone is praying us through, putting our names on God’s list of children to touch. 
So, as Ephesians 4:2 (ESV) commands, “…with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,” let’s all allow ourselves to be less rigid in our schedules and more flexible with our time to look to the interests of others (Philippians 2:4, ESV).