What does it mean to “stand in the gap” for someone?
Biblically, there are physical and spiritual examples of this concept. (Ps. 106:23; Ezek 13:5, 22:30, Nehemiah 4:16, Isaiah 58:12, I Timothy 2:1)
When the Israelites were rebuilding the wall in Nehemiah 4, half of the people literally stood by the ones working, with weapons in hand, in order in order to keep the enemy out and the men protected so that the wall could be rebuilt.
Many other avenues pertain to interceding for one another, waging spiritual war for our brothers and sisters and government officials, etc.
The thing is, we really can’t do it all on our on. Sometimes we desperately need people to intercede for us or even to physically stand between us and an enemy. When we are weak and vulnerable in specific areas, we may need someone stronger than us at the moment to help cover us from the lies and of the enemy while we “rebuild our walls” with truth.
At one point or another there will be areas of our lives that we kind of lose hope for. There will seem to be a deficit of faith for God to show up or break in. There will be a sphere where we are not strong or hopeful or courageous in.
If you’re like me, then you probably try not to focus on it. You put it on the backburner and try your best to keep your eyes on Jesus, avoiding the pain of hope deferred and addressing the lie that God just won’t come through for you in that area. Maybe even, like me, you pretty much stop praying about it altogether.
At some point, you will be confronted with the sin of unbelief. The Father’s love will gently touch that tender area of your heart and you will have to choose whether or not to repent and have faith and believe that God is who He says He is and that He is for you OR to continue in your unbelief and deny the Holy Spirit access to change things.
Honestly, I know that on my own I can’t always seem to find the strength to muster up faith or belief. Try as I might to renew my mind and stand on His promises, it doesn’t seem to revive my soul.
I know (head knowledge) that God is good, He is in control and I “trust” Him. I was in Sparks and Bible Drills as kid. I grew up Southern Baptist. I know the Christianese things to say and do. But you see I believe that sometimes we need the Body of Christ to come through for us in a very tangible way which will spur us on in our faith.
Sometimes I need a brother or sister to declare some life into dead areas of my life. I need a reminder that He is the God that speaks life into dry bones and calls the things that are not as though they were (Ezekiel 37:1-14, Romans 4:17).
I need family to believe for me and spur me on to take hold of the goodness of God. I need a friend to pray for breakthrough in seemingly hopeless situations. I need a shoulder to cry on and an arm to lean on when I feel like I’m going to fall. I need someone to lock arms with on the battlefield.
I need someone to stand in the gap for me.
What a powerful thing.
This past week I had someone do just that for me.
It took me by surprise. It stirred my faith. It gave me fresh hope. It challenged me. It wasn’t even something I was necessarily looking for to happen, but it did.
Then the aftermath: I’m faced with my response to this invitation.
It’s a bit scary to have hope after rejection. It takes risk and vulnerability to believe in something that seems impossible.
You see this wasn’t just a thing for the moment. He actually left me with a challenge and invitation to press in for myself, to spend time in prayer, to specifically ask God for what I wanted and declare His Words true. He challenged me to believe God for something greater than I could see at the moment, to “rebuild my walls” if I can put it that way.
He encouraged me just how I needed it in the moment and gave me a springboard to jump in afresh for myself.
Now it’s up to me to share with my close friends and have a team that can rally with me. It’s my turn to spend time with the Lord fleshing things out. It’s up to me to set aside time to pray and declare truth. It’s up to me to expose the new little springs of life to sunshine so that they will grow and to pull up the weeds when they pop up.
What incredible opportunities we have to bless and strengthen one another! Let’s open our eyes, see what God’s doing and be a part of the solution.
Who will you stand in the gap for today?
Who is the Lord putting in Your path to strengthen and encourage? Who is God asking you to speak on His behalf for? Who is He asking you to pray for regularly?
We may have to stop and take a little time to listen. We may need to give up a few minutes of our day and tend to the needs of others. It’s a part of serving and entering into one another’s sufferings. It’s a part of being and active member of His Body.
How can we minister the love of God to each other and impart courage to raise up a generation of believers with unprecedented faith?
Friends, we are not meant to journey alone. We can’t do it on our own.
So who will you stand in the gap for today?