After I graduated from Bible College my first job was working at a rock climbing gym in Newmarket. I spent most of my time there belaying (or holding the rope) for climbers as well as training others to do the same. The main job of the person belaying is to make sure the rope that is holding the climber up has no slack in it. As the climber continues to climb higher it creates slack in the rope that needs to be pulled through the belay device so that if the climber falls they are caught and held up by the rope.
The moments that really got my heart racing were while I was supervising the climbing rooms ;so often a belayer would get distracted watching another climber or talking to another belayer. I would look over and see the slack in their rope and their climber continuing to climb higher. If I was belaying another climber I would try to get their attention and point out the slack but if my hands were free often times I would simply run over grab the end of the rope and pull.
As I was talking to the Lord about the importance of prayer a few weeks back He reminded me of the story in Acts 12 where King Herod has Peter arrested and thrown in jail. It says in verse 6 that the next day Herod was going to bring Peter out for trial and you can be assured it would have resulted in Peter’s death. But verse 5 is the verse that the Lord highlighted for me;
“So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for Him.”
Just days before Herod had James beheaded… James, one of the three who was so close to Jesus’ and Peter’s heart; a mighty man of God. The church knew that Peter’s life was also on the line and that the only one who could save him was God. Imagine all of your pastors are arrested thrown in jail. These guys had been thrown in jail before, gone to trial, the church had prayed and they had been released. But imagine this time your associate pastor had gone to trial, you as the church prayed and he was beheaded. Tomorrow your senior pastor is going to trial. Imagine the way they prayed.
“Earnestly”: I looked up this word and found this to be the Greek definition;
‘fully-stretched, verbal idea of extended out, to it’s necessary (full) potential (‘without slack’); strenuously, without undue let up (‘as completely taut’)’
My mind immediately went back to the climbing gym. Spirit impressed two questions on my heart;
“With regard to the people I have impressed on your heart to pray for, how are you holding the rope?”
“Who’s holding your rope?”
God’s Word teaches us that God is sovereign and His plan is perfect and that Jesus Christ Himself sits at the right hand of God the Father and intercedes for us. God’s Word also teaches us to pray and that our prayers can affect change. How these two truths fit together fully is a mystery but we can know that in our prayers we need to believe that God is powerful enough to work miracles and is sovereign in His plans.
I was challenged to pray for others believing that it will affect change, it can impact the course of their life and their day. As for holding the rope, climbers fall, guaranteed. A belayer doesn’t know when a climber is going to fall, although if they are watching and paying close attention there can be signs. Climbers legs can begin to shake, they get tired and need longer breaks in between moves or you can tell they just can’t figure out which way to go or how to get to the next hold. As a rope holder your main job is to hold that rope tight by pulling it through the belay device and offer encouragement and direction if you can see the way and they can’t. If they fall, you encourage them to rest if they need to or to get back on the wall and keep going.
How are you doing holding the rope for others? Whose rope are you holding? Your children’s, husband’s, wife’s, friend’s, pastor’s, co-worker’s, missionaries? What’s their rope looking like right now, as far as your role goes? Have you been distracted? Do you understand the importance of your role in their lives? When is the last time you prayed specifically what the writer of Hebrews encourages us to do;
“let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”
Would you take time to “tighten the rope” and take up the slack in someone’s rope right now? Would you take time to ask God specifically how you can spur that person in the Lord… and then do it? It might be a phone call, text or even showing up at their house with dinner.
Those of you who are climbing, you are never allowed to get on the wall without asking, “belayer ready?” and then hear them respond, “Climb on.” Climbers, who is holding your rope?