A Prayer for Seeing Jesus in Painful Moments and Seasons of Life

     But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. ”Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” Acts 7:55-56 (NIV)

     Dear Lord Jesus, this vignette from Stephen’s life underscores your tender and tenacious engagement, no matter what we are going through. Just before he was stoned for proclaiming your glory and grace, Stephen saw you standing at the Father’s right hand—rising for the occasion of his greatest need. Indeed, Jesus, you are our Good Shepherd, faithfully caring for us, your lambs, even from heaven.

     Though few of us will be stoned to death as your martyrs, all of us are called to love and serve you in painful chapters and crises of life. Jesus, we too need to see you standing at the Father’s right hand for us. In particular, I’m thinking of friends facing difficult seasons in their lives, for which a fresh and clear sighting of you, Jesus, is greatly needed, and would be overwhelmingly appreciated.

     For friends wearing the label “terminal illness”, grant them a profound and palatable sense of your presence, Jesus. Because the gospel is true, “terminal” is really “transitional”, for we have already passed from death to life, and from judgment for our sin to favor with our God. Hallelujah, so many times over.

     For couples in seasons of marital mess, that feels very much like death, Jesus—Lord of resurrection and hope, merciful and mighty Savior, I ask you to do exceedingly beyond all we can ask or imagine. Rise for the occasion with healing in your wings and grace in your hands. Humble one, then both spouses. Restore the joy of your salvation and then the tenderness to their marriages.

     For friends in church conflicts—Oh, how Satan hates your Bride, Jesus… I pray you will be unavoidably large and beautiful. You are the issue, Jesus, whatever other issues may be on the table, or under the table. May leaders prove to be chief repenters, and may the gospel been 100 times more in play than gossip. May guarding the peace and purity of your Bride take precedent over spinning and winning. So very Amen I pray, in your glorious and grace-full name.