“I’d like you to say the prayer, because I don’t have enough faith.”
A loved one once said this to me as we prepared to pray about an issue. I obliged, and at the end we both said, “Amen.”
This was someone who loved God and knew Jesus. Someone who’d prayed powerfully and faithfully for me and others in the past. And they didn’t love or believe any less at that moment.
They’d simply run into a mountain they weren’t quite strong enough to scale yet. An obstacle their current faith level couldn’t power them over.
They needed help finding their footing. They needed a little shared faith to boost their own.
At some point we all find ourselves similarly short on faith. Maybe we’ve just gone through hardship and feel depleted. Or maybe our faith reserves are as full as ever, but they’re not quite enough for some new challenge.
This is one reason God has given us the Church. He knows we need fellow faith-bearers who will share their supply when we run short. Fellow warriors who will hold their shield over us both when we drop ours in the midst of spiritual battle.
God is our ultimate Source of faith. But often He provides it through other people.
So how can we literally “share our faith” with those who need it?
Here are four suggestions:
Remind Them of God’s Word
One of the most powerful ways to help someone spiritually is to simply remind them of God’s living, life-giving Word.
Are they worried? Remind them of His promise to care for His people. Are they burned out? Remind them of His promise to renew. Is their heart broken? Remind them of His nearness to the crushed. Point them to biblical stories of people who’ve been where they are – and to whom God proved faithful.
You don’t have to be preachy. You don’t have to find a Scripture for every question or ripple of emotion they have. You don’t have to play God to them.
You just need to be a compassionate presence, grounded in truth yourself, with one ear on them and the other on the Holy Spirit within you. Then you’ll be ready to speak the truth they need at that moment as the Spirit prompts you.
Share What God Has Given You
Probably the next best thing to God’s Word written on paper by His ancient followers is His word written in the lives of present disciples. The former grounds us in truth; the latter shows how that truth plays out in daily life.
In our struggles, we often need both.
What has God done for you? What has He taught you? How has He gotten you through your own struggles?
Tell those who are struggling. Share lessons and comforts that have carried you through similar trials. Maybe not the same physical circumstances, but similar spiritual, emotional, and mental battles.
This can be especially helpful when someone has trouble grasping the Bible’s truth and applying it to their lives. Sometimes we get so deep in discouragement that the light of God’s Word feels too distant to touch us. We need it brought close through the words of others, until we can find it for ourselves.
Sometimes we might even need reminding of our past brushes with God’s love and faithfulness. Not that we’ve forgotten them, but we need to know such things can happen again.
Again, listen to your loved one’s needs and the Holy Spirit’s guidance. He might prompt you to give a sermon. He might prompt you to say a few words. He might prompt you to just listen.
Pray for Them
Prayer is among the greatest acts of love we can show. If we truly believe in God’s ability and willingness to consider our requests, then presenting someone else’s needs to Him is the best way we can help them.
As someone has said, “You can do more than pray after you’ve prayed, but you can never do more than pray until you’ve prayed.”
You don’t have to tell someone you’re praying for them. God honors secret prayer as much as public ones. And in some cases, secret may be wiser or more tactful approach.
But often, knowing they’re being covered in prayer can give people comfort and hope. Especially when they’re struggling to pray with faith themselves.
If you’re unsure what to pray for and/or whether to share that you’re praying, ask the Holy Spirit for guidance. Either way – pray!
Pray With Them
Sometimes, as much as we know God hears our individual prayers, we need the affirmation of others praying with us.
Even if we can’t pray together physically, we can pray together using technology such as a simple phone call. At the very least, we can agree on what to pray for. We might even pick a specific time to pray separately but simultaneously.
The Bible is full of testimonies to the power of shared prayer, from Esther’s community fast to Daniel and his friends’ vigil to the pagan Ninevites’ repentance. Jesus Himself assures us of the power of praying in numbers: “Again, truly I tell you, if two of you on earth agree about any matter that you pray for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 18:19, CSB)
This doesn’t mean God will automatically grant anything we gather before Him to ask. But there’s definitely something special to Him about His people uniting to petition Him.
Maybe it’s the heart of a parent seeing their children united on a mission. Maybe it’s the amplifying of God-seeking faith by sharing. Maybe we’re simply more likely to agree on something God-pleasing than on something self-serving (though of course, as the Bible also demonstrates, we can still miss the mark communally).
Whatever the reason, praying together is undeniably powerful. Even when it fails to get a “yes” from God, it makes asking Him easier. It can make listening for Him more expectant and waiting for Him more bearable. And when He answers, having another person alongside us can make disappointment a little lighter and joy twice as good.
So, as you go through your day, think of at least one person you know who might need some encouragement right now. If you’re unsure, ask God for direction. Then look for a way to minister to them in the near future. Pray about that, too.
You don’t have to feel spiritually supercharged in order to bless someone. In fact, blessing others can be a great way to bless ourselves. People are like coals – we blaze brighter together.
And if you’re struggling yourself, don’t be ashamed to admit it. Even if you choose not to share your exact need or situation, ask for prayer from a trustworthy person you know will pray for you. If you want, just tell them you need prayer or have an “unspoken” request.
May God bless each one of you with His faithful presence and love. And may you bless others by pointing them to the same.
Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, since he who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to provoke love and good works…encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day approaching.Hebrews 10:23-25 (CSB)
NOTE: If you or a loved one are struggling to the point that you’re concerned for your/their safety or wellbeing, please consider reaching out to a professional for help. Not all issues are faith issues. Mental health issues, trauma, and abuse are real. And YOU are worth helping.