Today I was praying for a distant friend and thought I might take a moment to break down how I pray for someone when I don’t know details of their lives, because this seems to cover all the bases quite well. If I feel moved to go beyond, in this example, “God bless Fuzzy,” then I typically pray for them the whole armor of God. I used to run through this prayer a lot for young men that I knew doing outdoor ministries, since afterwards I couldn’t think of a single thing more to pray for them. It has become something of a rote for me, with fixed words and phrasing, but it serves to satisfy mentally, emotionally, and spiritually the command to keep remembering one another and loving them as God loves us.
As a Medieval style Lutheran, I’m somewhat literal-minded. I also think that the type of armor’s association with body parts and labels gives us a good clue as to why each part is the way that it is.
I’m not saying for sure I’m right, but it’s my best understanding of what the threats are to our daily life, and how I can pray for someone to endure them. (Don’t just take my word for it. Check out the passage in Ephesians here.)
Dear God, please bless Fuzzy.
Gird up his loins with the belt of truth. Let him be sexually pure and honest.
Cover him with the breastplate of righteousness. May he repent of his sins. May he find your grace through faith in your. May he forgive and love others as himself.
Let him walk in the Gospel, ready to share it and secure in its peace.
Let him have the shield of faith, so that when Satan’s fiery arrows come for his heart, and his head and strength aren’t enough, he can trust in you to see him through.
Put salvation on him like a helmet, so that the times when his heart hurts, and his strength is not enough, he can hold onto the knowledge that you are always with him, never forsaking him, and that nothing can pull him from your hands.
Let him have the Sword of the Spirit ready to hand, the Word of God that fends off the enemy’s attacks and cuts through his lies in his life.
These and all his needs I pray, according to your perfect wisdom and unfailing love, not because I deserve to have you answer my prayers, but because of the innocent sacrifice of your son Jesus Christ.
That’s what I pray, and some of why. Those are the things that I have seen destroy people’s lives, that beat up my loved ones when they are weak. That’s what I hope for my friends and family near and far.