Are you familiar with the question, “Who’s got your 6?” Or the phrase, “I’ve got your 6”? For us non-military folk, it’s a military term used to describe the 6 O‘clock position of a pilot’s plane—or your backside, aka what makes you vulnerable to an enemy sneak attack. This is powerful imagery of life on the battlefield and a great metaphor for the spiritual battlefield. If someone says, “I got your 6,” they are saying they’ve got your back, they’ve got you covered. You are not vulnerable because they are looking out for you. It shows that you and the other person are a team, working together to protect each other and to progress forward in the mission to which you have been assigned. Furthermore, it means the other is willing to lay down his or her life for you should need arise–what a powerful bond and relationship! What a great example of laying down one’s life for his friends.
How about in your spiritual life? Who’s got your 6 there? Who’s got your spiritual 6? Have you ever thought about your own spiritual vulnerability or the importance of mutual edification? Have you ever needed to call upon a friend or small group of friends to pray for and encourage you during a difficult time? Perhaps a time of feeling spiritually attacked or during a recent health diagnosis? How about during this pandemic? Have you felt lonely or depressed? Have you craved human interaction? Or the converse, have you ever experienced a provision or gift from the Lord that you couldn’t wait to tell others about? I remember once one of my friends coming to our summer book study and arriving with the greeting, “Let me tell you all what God has done!” And another time, “Thank you all for praying for me, here’s what God has been teaching me…” How are you experiencing a mutual edification in the Lord, especially at a time when social distancing is a need for public health and safety (Romans 1:12-13)?
That is what your spiritual “6” is all about and it’s why every believer needs their own prayer posse. Here are some additional reasons (1 Thessalonians 5:11; Hebrews 10:25):
Your prayer posse helps you know your Enemy.
The Bible describes Satan as a roaring lion prowling around, looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). In this metaphor, the enemy is obvious, and it may be clear to us to stay away from him so as not to get eaten up. But a lion is also a master predator who is good at sneaking up on his prey in order to make the kill. As believers, we must live with a spiritual awareness of our enemy lest we live more passively and risk even inviting him in… “Here, kitty, kitty.” Are you living as though the devil is on the prowl with a mission to devour you? Are you able to discern where Satan is seeking to lead you to doubt God’s goodness or over-saturate and overwhelm you with the world’s concerns that you turn your hands up in apathy? When you have your spiritual 6 covered, you are living a spiritually proactive defense against a spiritual enemy to help you see your blind spots and areas in need of growth or vulnerability.
A great example of this spiritual friendship in action takes place in the context of an actual and spiritual battle during Joshua’s battle with the Amalekites. In Exodus 17:8ff the Israelites have been attacked by the Amalekites at Rephidim. As a result, Moses instructs Joshua to go and fight them. While Joshua and his army battle, Moses tells Joshua he will go to the mountain top with the staff of God and keep it raised while they fight. The challenge is that holding your arms up for a long time is exhausting. As long as Moses’ arms were raised, Israel was winning the battle. When Moses put his arms down to rest, they started losing. So, Aaron and Hur came to the assistance of Moses. They pulled up a seat for Moses to rest on after standing for a long time and helped him keep his hands raised while the battle continued in order for Joshua and Israel to defeat their enemy (Exodus 17:12-14). Each held up his arms until sunset when the battle was finished, and the Amalekites were destroyed.
Your prayer posse helps you stay dependent on God.
When inviting others into our world and asking them to pray for us, we are training ourselves to practice God-dependence versus self-reliance and alienation. The Bible describes spiritual growth within the context of Christian community (Ecc. 4:9-12; Rom.12:3-13; Gal. 6:2). The Scriptures tell us that the Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. We need one another to help us stay dependent on the Lord and to practice a life of God-reliance instead of self-reliance. In doing so, God has freed us from having to be our own heroes and saviors. Paul demonstrates this well in his letters over and over by stating that he is thankful for those to whom the letter is addressed along with their spiritual growth and that he has been praying for them. In expressing this he is demonstrating a “spiritual 6” mentality in looking out for the spiritual well-being of others. Likewise, he asks the local church to pray for him and his fellow laborers on his missionary journeys for encouragement (2 Corinthians 4:8-12), deliverance (2 Corinthians 1:10-11), protection (Romans 15:31) and the furtherance of the Gospel (Colossian 4:2-4).
In this, Paul demonstrates how his calling to spread the Gospel was not a one-man effort or something that he could do in his own strength. This kingdom work was (and is) a community effort. God used the trials Paul faced to cause Paul to ask for help and involve the Church in His mission. While not physically with Paul, this helped his supporters to stay connected with Paul, be eternally minded and God-dependent in their intercession for him, and remain spiritually minded in their own day-to-day lives. We don’t have to have it all together to serve God, we just have to bring our lives to the One who holds it all together for us.
Your prayer posse helps you experience biblical community.
The Christian life is meant to be a life lived in community. Just as the Trinity began in community, God the Father continues that community in His creation by creating for himself a people to live in relationship with Him and one another. Have you ever had good friends to hang out and talk with, but you never went deeper than “life in general”? Or maybe you did talk about the hard things you were experiencing but the conversation ended there? Have you ever felt the need to share your sin with other trusted believers so that you were no longer hiding it from others? Perhaps you are really hurting and need someone to just listen. Or maybe God is trying to grow you as a listener, to help you turn on your spiritual ears while listening to the struggles or joys of others and thus grow you as an intercessory pray-er. There is a oneness in Christ that takes place as you practice the art of Christian fellowship, (biblical community), and intercessory prayer.
I realize some of you reading this may think, “But I’m not good at praying,” or, “I never know what to pray,” or, “prayer is boring.” If this is you, try changing the focus from yourself, to God. Confess your struggle to pray and ask God to help you grow in dependence on Him through praying and listening for others and yourself. Thank Him for the people He’s put in your life to pray for and praise Him for His attributes and works. Next, wait and watch to see how He grows you as you learn to pray the Scriptures for others and as you grow in compassion and care to bring others you care about before His throne of grace in prayer. Listening to and sharing our burdens and sins, (James 5:16) with trusted believers brings healing and helps to sanctify and strengthen God’s Church so that as iron sharpens iron, so one man or woman, sharpens another (Ephesians 3:14-21). God’s standard is Christlike holiness and that is not something we can do alone.
Your prayer posse helps you develop spiritual grit.
Typically, grit is defined as a “demonstration of courage and resolve; strength of character.” In a kingdom context, spiritual grit is the perseverance Paul mentions in the epistles. Words like trials, contentment, perseverance and steadfastness are other names for grit. Ultimately, spiritual grit is the joyful, everyday dependence on Christ, no matter what, even when it’s hard. As we journey with our friends through the ups and downs of life, the Grit we embrace as believers and point one another to, is the fruit of the Holy Spirit, the outworking of our relationship with Christ. Though we are pressed, we are not crushed or destroyed because in Christ, we are more than conquerors; we have been brought from death to life (2 Corinthians 4:8-12).
Are you walking through the fire right now? Are you having an abundance of challenge and sanctifying opportunities that you would like a break from, (like this pandemic)? If so, you are not alone. Jesus walked through the fire when He went to the cross on our behalf. Jesus understands separation as He experienced this from His heavenly Father. Jesus understands betrayal and abandonment from close friends. Jesus knew what it was like to lose a close friend to illness. Jesus knows what it is like to have people make false accusations against you and call you names. These are some intense spiritual grit building opportunities. What work is the Lord is seeking to do in your heart during your present difficulty? In this time of building spiritual grit, you can be confident that the Lord is up to a supernatural work for your good and for His glory.
Your prayer posse helps you to see outside of yourself.
Life is busy with work. Managing your home. Caring for aging parents. Surviving a pandemic. It’s easy to get into survival mode or on pursuing the next thing that we get so inward focused we don’t have the spiritual eyes to see what’s going on around us. When we take the time to listen to and pray for the specific needs of others, as well as their spiritual maturity and health, we are living out biblical community (Colossians 1:9-12). This means that despite busyness or survival mode, we make ourselves available to others to see how they are doing and how we can pray for and encourage them.
You know what God does in us as we learn to see outside of ourselves? He grows in wisdom as we learn from one another. We grow in compassion and learn to serve the needs of others. We are guarded from fruitless pity parties and are provided with a godly perspective as we hear the sorrows and concerns of our brothers and sisters as well as rejoice in their celebrations of life. We learn to rejoice with those who rejoice and to mourn with those who are in mourning. As we learn to invest in the spiritual life of others through listening, praying and serving, God sharpens us to look more like Jesus who took the time for people of all ages, men, women and children, rich and poor.
And that’s the point, we want to look more like Jesus.
Your prayer posse helps you look more like Jesus.
Jesus had his 12 disciples, then his 3 closest friends, Peter, James and John. Jesus demonstrated for us the importance of having a prayer posse in asking them to pray for Him while He went alone to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus knew the importance of a spiritual 6. Unlike us, Jesus knew the spiritual, physical, emotional, and mental trauma that was coming His way. Jesus knew that together; we feel spiritually stronger against the enemy and challenges we are facing when we have a mini army of trusted friends in the Lord who can come before the throne of grace on our behalf. In John 17, we see how Jesus embodied dependence on His heavenly Father. He expresses His concern for the disciples his closest friends, and His no longer being with them. Jesus prays for the spiritual growth of future believers in His High Priestly prayer of intercession and submission to the Father’s will of what was to come (the cross and resurrection). Sometimes we don’t know what to pray but God speaks through our friends in prayer to ask of God exactly what we need (Rom. 8:26).
As we look more like Jesus, the local church looks more like Jesus. As the local church looks more like Jesus, the global church looks more like Jesus.
So, as we move through 2021, ask yourself, “Who’s got your 6” and, “Who’s 6 do you have?” How is God seeking to mature your faith and advance the kingdom of God? Who are you going to develop spiritual grit with this coming year?