How I can help bear someone’s burdens any time, anywhere
There is the one very important thing I can always do for people.
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2.
I’ve been thinking recently about what this means, to “bear one another’s burdens.”
Someone I know has recently been going through a hard time. To me it seems like one thing after another has been piling up on top of them and I’ve wondered, “How can they bear it?” In a way it has made me feel quite helpless, as I haven’t really seen a way I can help.
One thing I can always do
But there is one thing I can do, one thing that is not dependant on any factors outside my control.
I can pray.
And truthfully, that is the best thing I can do for someone. It should be my first instinct when I see a need, not my last resort when I just don’t know what else I can do. I can bear others up in prayer! “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much,” James wrote. (James 5:16.) It’s not just kind of effective, not just slightly useful. It avails much.
I don’t always get to see the results of my prayers, but I can be sure that they are effective. The “cup of” that someone is drinking is not necessarily going to be removed. Maybe God is allowing them to go through this trial by fire for a purpose, for their sanctification. (1 Peter 1:6-9.) But my prayers can give them added strength, can lift them in their moment of need so that they can bear the fire. Even if they haven’t had faith or strength for themselves, maybe I can take on the task of shouldering the load for them!
A battle in the spirit world
If the Spirit works in me and puts someone on my heart, then this prayer ministry is my task to take up. It’s a battle that I have to fight! We read in Ephesians 6:18, “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.” And further up, in verse 12 it says, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12. I am to be along in battling against these spiritual hosts of wickedness, against Satan’s attempts to cause people to despair, doubt, or give up.
I’ve always been intrigued by a particular story about Daniel. An angel came to him and told him that his words – his prayers – were heard, and that the angel had been trying to get to Daniel. But “the prince of the kingdom of Persia” – whom I understand to be a spirit power – withstood him for 21 days. They battled in the spirit world until the archangel Michael came to help and the prince of Persia was overcome. (Daniel 10:10-14.) This story opened my eyes a bit to what is happening in the spirit world. There is a battle going on there, and I believe that prayer plays a tremendous part in keeping those evil spirit powers at bay. Perhaps my prayer can send “the archangel Michael” so that the battle can be won! Maybe not him exactly, but my point is, my prayers can strengthen the side of the good! I can also do this for those who do not have faith for themselves. I can fight on their behalf until they come to faith.
Fulfilling the law of Christ
This is what it means to bear one another’s burdens. Of course, God may also show me things I can actually do for people, ways I can help, and it’s also important to be obedient to those promptings. But prayer is the first and greatest thing I can do for someone. And it builds bonds of love. Jesus commanded us to “love one another; as I have loved you.” John 13:34. He also said, “… inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.” Matthew 25:34-40. This prayer life is an act of love for people and in doing this, it is an act of love toward Jesus Himself. And that’s the second part of that verse in Galatians 6:2: “… and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
Personally, I still have a long way to go, but it is my desire that I can come more and more into a life of bearing burdens. It’s a hidden work, a hidden ministry, but one that can bear tremendous fruit.
You may be interested in reading more on our topic page about prayer, or in the following resources:
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, unless otherwise specified. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.