The Bible in One Year day 52 encourages us to pray for a ministry partner if we are an isolated Christian in our day-to-day life. This is because Jesus in Mark 6:7 sends the disciples out ‘two-by-two’ because as Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 explains ‘two are better than one…if one falls down, his friend can help him up…‘
Now my experience of being long term sick is that I have often felt lonely and an isolated Christian. This is because I have been stuck at home a lot on my own and support that I previously used including: meeting up with Christian friends, going to prayer meetings, talking with people in the coffee break at church; became difficult if not impossible.
For me the greatest battle has not been my physical limitations but the battle of my mind so my emotional and spiritual health. To manage this I have found it vital to stay connected with other Christians during my sickness. I think a good illustration of this is in Exodus 17: 8-15 when the Israelites are winning the battle against the Amalekites as long as Moses is lifting his hands up to God. However he can’t do this on his own, his friends Aaron and Hur have to get him a stone to sit on and have to help hold up his arms.
If you feel like an isolated Christian whether due to illness or because you are the only Christian at your workplace or elsewhere, I urge you to pray for Christians to support you. You may have to get creative to make it happen but it is vital. Here are some ways I managed to get Christian support when very unwell:
- I went each week to pray with a Christian friend often for only for 15 minutes. Even if I spent the rest of the day feeling dreadful it was worth it. Those times uplifted me and helped me to keep my eyes on Jesus, I looked forward to them.
- I also had a few Christian friends who I exchanged prayer requests and very importantly answered prayers with. When you are really struggling it is so uplifting to know someone is praying. I have also had countless moments of complete joy and thankfulness to God when either I have been able to tell them about an answered prayer or they would tell me.
- I’m also blessed and privileged to have a wonderfully supportive and encouraging Christian family who have very much walked the highs and the lows of this journey with me.
These are just a few strategies I have used. More ideas for strategies for prayer, reading the Bible and worshipping God will be explored in future posts.
So in short we all need the family of God around us encouraging us in the good times and bad.
NB if you want to read/listen to the whole commentary and reading of the Bible In One Year which inspired this post you can download the app here. If you select to start on the 21st February you should see it.