When someone is hurting, we're called to comfort. But we must be careful how we respond. Misinterpretation is common, and the effects can be devestating. We need correct interpretation of one's story and a Spirit-inspired response. Here's a snippet from a Desiring God post:
And this is why, especially when praying with someone in need of comfort, we should start prayer asking Holy Spirit to guide our interpretation. Without that guidance my best efforts are quite dangerous, both for myself and for the person with whom I'm praying. It's also a good idea to simply ask Jesus to come, guide, and show me how to pray.
Getting into these habits will help us gain a better perspective, seek a correct interpretation, and be inspired by Holy Spirit to best connect. For great insights and more guidance on this topic, check out the Desiring God blog post that inspired this post!
I totally resonate with Tozer, recognizing those stress-filled moments, regretting prayer wasn't my immediate response. The closer I am living with Jesus, the more intimate the fellowship. And that helps shape my default response to the surrounding world. It leads towards me living not from my own strength, but as one empowered from on high.
Check out Tozer's encouragement to live out a "Whole Life Prayer."
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 2:4-7 NIV
When we're praying with others, it's important to encourage a Christ follower's identity as one who is: