Encouraging the Encourager/Intercessor/Servant

Yes, this is probably a strange thing to write about. But I've seen a big problem. I've seen several intercessor/servant/encourager types (self included) get burnt out and lose their spiritual energy because no-one was around to build them up when they needed it. And, after a lot of thought, I've decided that maybe it's time to shed a little bit of light on this situation. I can only speak for myself here, but I think it's a safe bet that there are several people like me out there who are also feeling the need of someone to come beside them and encourage them. Here goes...

Here's what floats my boat: Helping people and making them happy. I want to see sad people smile, hurting people laugh, discouraged people find hope. I tend to identify hurting people very quickly, and, as soon as I identify them, I want to help. Seeing anyone suffer is emotionally painful for me, and I want to help in the most meaningful way that I can - whether it be praying for the person, washing their dishes, or just giving them an understanding ear to vent into. I don't like being out in the open, doing things in front of the crowd. I prefer to be behind the scenes, quietly making the little differences in people's lives. And I really don't care about having recognition or big rewards. A grateful smile, or merely the internal knowledge that I've really made a difference is enough for me.

Somewhat related to that is my burden for intercession. And it really is a burden, albeit one that I'm glad to bear. God will lay a person on my heart, and I feel this driving compulsion to pray for them. Not just generic, 'God, please bless so-and-so' prayers, but very specific things. God talks to me, and tells me how I should pray for people. He often gives me people to pray for that are going through something that I have experienced. Then, my prayers take on a whole new level of urgency, as I not only feel their pain, but also remember my own. I love to pray for people, because it gives me the opportunity to not only encourage them, but also to be a part of what God's doing in their lives.

But here's the bad part: I have a really hard time saying 'no', or refusing anyone who needs anything. I have also discovered that constant giving of myself often tends to lead to complete exhaustion. I will keep giving and giving until I've run myself into the ground, sometimes physically, but usually in an emotional sense. I'm honored that so many people come to me when they need to talk about their problems, but sometimes I feel like I'm getting buried under an avalanche of outside emotions. Sometimes, I feel a compelling need to talk about me - because I have problems too, you know! I want someone to pray passionately and earnestly for me, or do something that shows they really care about me.

That's where I sometimes start feeling guilty or selfish. I feel like I shouldn't really bother other people with my problems, or that it was unpardonably self-centered of me to say 'no' to so-and-so. That's why relationships - the deep, meaningful kind - are very important to me. I want to know that someone really cares about my problems, and that I can trust them enough to say what's actually going on deep down inside. I want people in my life who have seen the ugliest side of me, but love me anyway. I want people in my life who want to encourage me.

So, with all of that being said, here are some basic things you can do for people of my spiritual personality:

Ask how they're doing, and really mean it. Be prepared to hear the sometimes shocking truth of  'I'm having a horrible day, and all I really want to do right now is curl up in a corner and feel sorry for myself.'

Pray for them. Out loud. With some sort of physical touch (if they're comfortable with that). I'm not sure why physical touch is so important, as I'm a strictly non-touchy-feely person, but it really is. Ask God to give you prayers that will encourage them.

Don't pressure them into saying 'yes'.

Listen, listen, listen. Sometimes it may take awhile for them to open up and tell you what's really going on, so be sensitive to that.

Be on the lookout for ways to encourage them. Sometimes that can be as simple as coming beside them and helping with the dishes. Let them know that they're not alone, and that other people care, too.

And this would conclude my thoughts about the traits, downfalls, and needs of the intercessor/servant/encourager. I hope this didn't come across as sounding too selfish. I thought about trying to write it in third person, but I didn't want to take the liberty of speaking for all people of this personality type. By the way, if you have any thoughts on this particular topic, I'd love to hear them.



  1. Excellent post. It sounds like we would have similar spiritually personalities--so much of what you said rang true in me.


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