Faith Identity

“I Need Intervention!”

Life was in crisis! Help was needed and fast! Facing what lie ahead looked crippling. Devastating. Hopeless. Death seemed imminent. I needed intervention! That’s how I felt the week my heart catheterization revealed a 95% blockage in my right coronary artery. Waiting at home for what would be a quadruple heart bypass surgery was the most excruciating week of my life. Of my marriage. Hey! If I had the pen and could write the script of my life, this would NOT have been in it! What guy of any age wants such difficult news?

Then it happened. The floodgates opened! Calls, texts, visits, and prayer. Tons of prayer. Not “Jesus take the wheel and help David.” prayers, but on your knees, laying on of hands, tear-dripping, soul-stirring prayers. Intervention prayers.

Rescued Peter

It reminds me of what happened to Peter being rescued from prison. His fellow disciple, James, had been brutally executed by crazy-out-of-control Herod. When Herod found that killing James pleased the Jews, he went after Peter. They arrested him and chained him in jail. Despite being heavily guarded, God intervenes by sending an angel directly into the cell with Peter. “Get up quickly.” the angel said to Peter, as he woke him up (See Acts 12:1- 17). A true miracle indeed, Peter is freed from prison unharmed, and unaware by the guards. It reminds me of the contemporary account of the Heavenly Man in China being freed from prison.

Peter ends up at Mary’s house where the church had gathered praying for him. How did all this happen? Read Acts 12:5 “So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.” While Peter was in prison, needing supernatural intervention, the church was gathered to pray earnestly for him. Earnestly. Not sheepishly. Not wimpy. Not soft-prayers, but on their knees, tear-dripping, soul-stirring prayers. All-night prayers. Intervention prayers. 

Kingdom Partners

God’s call on you and me to pray is an opportunity for us to partner with Him in Kingdom work. The angel showed up at Peter’s jail cell. Chains fell off. Iron gates opened and guards were blinded to Peter’s leaving all because faithful Jesus-followers prayed.

As for my crisis, I ended up having quadruple bypass surgery. I spent six weeks at home recovering and working through what the new normal was going to look like for a guy my age. Does that mean the prayers for me didn’t work? That God didn’t answer prayer?  Hardly! God used their prayers to divinely orchestrate the surgeon’s hands. To provide excellent, compassionate nursing care. To have people serve my wife and me everything from meals to yardwork to tying my shoes. And, for my soul to grow in deeper dependency and intimacy with my Heavenly Father. As for those who prayed for me, whether they realized it or not, they had the privilege of partnering with the God of the Universe in Kingdom work.

Praying for You

Mentoring Warriors is all about equipping older men to come alongside younger men (18-30), preparing them for life. Part of how you mentor is through prayer. Often, young warrior men are in crisis. Choices made in the moment or pre-meditated reveal their brokenness and in desperation, they ask for prayer. So, what’s a mentor to do? Pray! Intervention prayers. Sometimes, I’ll initially text the young man a prayer. Asking God, by the authority of Jesus Christ to reveal His presence in the situation at hand. To show up. To convict of sin by the Holy Spirit. For the young man to repent. To turn back to the Lord. To face the spiritual warfare head-on with the full armor of God. Divine weapons.

Later, when we connect face to face, we circle back on the issue, pray some more and see where God is reshaping the young man. I often tell the young men I mentor that when I pray for them, I pour my heart and soul in partnering with God in the Kingdom work He wants to do in their lives.

Does Any of This Make Sense?

“But prayer seems so lame. So intangible. I want to see radical changes in lives! Isn’t there a better way?” Nothing partners with God more than interventional praying. All of your face to face contacts with those you mentor. All of you buying them lunch or taking them on some adventure, or listening to their struggles over coffee means NOTHING without prayer.

Look, I used to be a young warrior myself. Even in my thirties raising a family, to my shame, I discounted prayer. Sure, we prayed at meals, and at bedtime, but my life was absent of knockdown, soul-stirring intervention prayers. Too much self-sufficiency got the best of me back then. Maybe heart surgery changed all that for me!

If You Are A Mentor…

  1.  Commit to interventional praying for those you mentor. 
  2. Tell them you are partnering with God for their soul-transforming manhood journey.
  3. When face to face, NEVER let an opportunity go by without praying for the young man. NEVER!

If You Are A Warrior…

     1. Ask for prayer. Stop thinking you are beyond the need for intervention. 

     2. Let your mentor pray for you.

     3. Pray for your mentor. When he pours his heart out for you, reciprocate. Not out of obligation, but because your mentor needs intervention too. Both of you partnering with God in Kingdom work.

Warrior On!

David Riffel is the Founder and Executive Director of Having gone through his warrior years (18-30) essentially without a mentor, God has placed in him a heart for warriors, to come alongside them in various ways as they figure out life. David’s newly released book, Mentoring Warriors: Coming Alongside Young Men 18-30, outlines principles for mentoring and gives advice for warriors in six key areas of life: self-management, life skills, education/career, relationships, faith, and identity.

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