Prayerfully Speaking

Hope from the Truths of God's Word

Joining Jesus in the Gap: Praying for Imperfect People

stand in the gap instead of finding fault

God has been opening the eyes of my understanding to the habit of fault-finding and how it has effectively robbed me of joy and peace in my relationships. In this post, I’m processing the ideas that are roaming around my heart and preaching the gospel to myself. I welcome you into the process.

The world invites us to entertain ourselves by rehearsing the faults of others. Think about how many conversations you’ve had with friends and family about the failures of someone else. Maybe this person hurt you deeply and you feel stuck in your thoughts of being done so wrong. As a woman, I often process pain out loud with a trusted friend. I don’t think this is wrong. However, I think it’s very important to move the focus off the offender and onto the One who can do something with my pain and the glaring weakness of the person who hurt, offended, or disappointed me.

As followers of Christ, we have to resist the temptation to focus on the imperfections of ourselves and others in a condemning way. Fault-finding is not God’s way. God gives us the ability to discern what separates us and others from Him. This discernment should lead us to pray for ourselves and others.

There is always a gap between God’s perfection and the performance of people. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 about Jesus being sufficient for us. He is able to fill that gap between our weaknesses and His strength.

Standing in the gap is what Jesus did for us on the cross. He endured a brutal death because only He was perfect enough to satisfy God’s requirements for justice. His worthiness covered our unworthiness. Now Jesus stands in the gap for us asking God to release into our lives what we need in order to thrive as the body of Christ. He has perfect perspective of God’s will and God’s love for us, so He knows exactly what to ask God to do for us.

resist the accuser and stand in the gapWhen we rehearse someone’s faults (even our own), we are cooperating with Satan who is also known as the Accuser. Romans 8 assures us that condemnation is not a part of the Christian life. Jesus made sure we would never be condemned to life without God’s help. He didn’t diminish us for being less than perfect. He raised us up to be seated with Him in heaven (Ephesians 2:6-8) and to receive every spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:3).

Jesus rebuilt the wall of righteousness around our lives. Intercession (standing in the gap) is a way for us to rebuild the wall of righteousness in someone’s life (even our own). It is a form of building others and ourselves up (1 Thess. 5:11, Eph. 4:29, Jude 1:20).

Moses was saddled with the job of leading a very contentious and rebellious group of people. In Exodus 32, God was angry with their lack of respect and faithfulness, and He was ready to wipe them out. Moses could have made himself look great by bragging to God about how much more righteous he was than the people he led. He could have cheered God on in His plan to destroy them. Instead, he asked God to be merciful to them. He actually offered to die with them. The Cambridge Bible Commentary says, “Moses confronted God with intercession like the warrior who stands in the breach of the city wall to repel the enemy at the risk of his life.”

Moses and Jesus modeled for us a life of love for people who live as enemies of God’s way. They both offered to die for stiff-necked knuckleheads (me, you, and the difficult people in our lives). When we ask God to bless our enemies and other imperfect people, Christ’s light and love shines brightly through us. We make a way for redemption to define the life of the person who hasn’t been able break lose from Satan’s influence.

May our God fill us with this love of Christ which seeks God’s best for the offender, the betrayer, and the oblivious. May God open our eyes to see how the Good News applies to us and how we are equally in need of a present day Savior!

The following quotes about faulting-finding vs. standing in the gap are taken from a book I highly recommend: The Three Battlegrounds by Francis Frangipane. After each quote, I have written a prayer for us.

“You do not need great discernment to find fault with people. If you recall, you could find fault with people even before you were saved. But if you want to be like Christ, you must become an intercessor, one who “stand[s] in the gap” (Ezek. 22:30). What is the gap? It’s the distance between the way things are and the way things could be if God answered your prayers. You stand in that envisioned yet unformed reality and pray for mercy, for forgiveness and for redemption to flood the area of need!”

God, grant me more faith to believe You will transform the heart of the person I am tempted to condemn. 

“When the scriptural approach to rectifying a situation is ignored, it opens the door to fault-finding, fleshly criticisms, and judging, which are the evidences that the “accuser of the brethren” is assaulting the church. Where these sins are operative, the movement of the Holy Spirit is restricted: salvations are few, power is minimal, and spiritual authority is crippled. Such a church is in serious danger. To be truly anointed to bring Christ’s corrections to a church, one must be anointed with Christ’s motives. The Scriptures are plain, Jesus “always lives to make intercession sion for [the saints]” (Heb. 7:25; Rom. 8:34). God does not call us to judge each other, but to pray for one another. If we see a need in the body of Christ, we must intercede and not simply criticize. Our pattern must be to follow Christ in building and restoring, not to echo the accuser of the brethren in finding fault.”

Forgive me, God, for every time I have not chosen Your way of rectifying a situation between me and someone who has wronged me. Anoint me with Christ’s motives and fill me with Your prayers of restoration for this person.

“When we harbor sympathetic attitudes toward fault-finding, when we justify gossip and negative criticism, we are actually giving Satan the use of our mouths to accuse the saints before God!”

God, I can’t stand the thought of allowing Satan to use my mouth to do his work. Please forgive me for cooperating with his ways. Cleanse my heart of any desire to gossip and criticize.

“The accuser must be cast down first in our minds! We cannot tolerate fault-finding and accusations. We must possess the very heart of God toward our brethren. The kingdom of God and the authority of His Christ will be seen in a people who are terminally committed to love-motivated prayer. For when they see a need, instead of becoming critical, they cast down the accuser of the brethren, and they pray!”

Lord, teach me to quickly resist the accusations that flood my mind. I want to excel at lifting up my shield of faith in Your mercy and power to redeem. I want to live completely committed to love-motivated prayer. 

In Jesus, I pray. Amen

About Jennifer O. White

I'm a simple wife who has discovered God's amazing gift of prayer. Here at Prayerfully Speaking I share my journey of unwrapping this gift. God invites us to ask Him, but His enemy works diligently to keep that from happening. I hope to offer you encouragement to believe God is ready to pour more into your life than you've ever imaged.

2 Replies

  1. swamp bacon

    Really enjoyed listening to your interview with Laney Houser. It is so meaningful to understand that your words of wisdom come from your cries to God during very painful times and his faithfulness to hear those cries and make beauty from the ashes. Again, thank you for sharing your heart. Thank you for exhibiting a constant reliance on God to make our broken lives into something that can bring him tremendous glory!

    Reading this post, ‘Joining Jesus in the gap’ was a painful, but necessary, reminder to me of my need to be so much more in tune with Jesus and his word. Thank you for your faithfulness to the Lord, because of it, you are touching more lives than you will ever know and drawing so many people to a deeper relationship with Christ! Awesome thought, huh?!

    1. I really appreciate hearing how the work I am doing is impacting you. His love, His way, His glory is so rich and beautiful. May God bless you abundantly in your relationship with HIm.