Today – Day 13 – we are going to talk about one of my favorite topics: prayer….specifically intercession. We’ve spent nearly 2 weeks (re-)committing to a serious pursuit of revitalizing our relationship with God through spending the first 15 minutes of our day in our secret place with Him. If you haven’t figured it out yet, I am a firm believer that everything that happens in our lives – and in the Church as a whole – is a barometer of our prayer life. So let’s dig in!Everything that happens in our lives - and in the Church as a whole - is a barometer of our prayer life. - Kimberly Sutor Click To Tweet
If you missed any of the earlier posts, take this time to catch up before continuing:
NOTE: I’m basing this challenge on my friend Bob Sorge’s book “Secrets of the Secret Place,” if you’d like to follow along. I bought this book the first night I met and heard Bob speak, and it was a real blessing at a time I was struggling to get back into a daily morning prayer and Bible-reading time. I highly encourage you to buy your own copy today. I promise it will be one of the best investments you make. (Buy it here now. It’s on sale!)
Let’s begin with the basics. Intercession can be defined as “entreaty in favor of another, especially a prayer or petition to God in behalf of another.” When we intercede on behalf of another in prayer, we stand between heaven and earth, petitioning God for a breakthrough. That is powerful stuff!
There is no shame in asking people to pray for you. Paul was constantly asking the early Church members to pray for him, and in turn, he reminded them that he was praying for them continuously. When we pray for one another, it builds up our love for one another. It’s a good thing. Actually….it’s a God thing. 🙂
Intercession Affects God’s Plans
Did you realize your prayers can actually affect (have an influence on) God’s plans? (Bob wrote another book on this subject that is just as mind-blowing as this one. It’s called “Illegal Prayers,” and it digs into the parable of the two neighbors in Luke 11:5-10. Go get a copy for yourself; you won’t regret it!)
God already knows His plans for all His creation, but we can participate in their happening through prayers of intercession. The author of Hebrews (Luke??) wrote to the believers asking for their prayers because, although he knew he would return to them, their prayers could bring that about sooner.
But I especially urge you to do this [pray for him], that I may be restored to you the sooner. – Hebrews 13:19
Whether we pray or not, God’s will will be done, but our prayers can influence whether they happen sooner or later. God could bring this whole thing to an end whenever He chooses….but He is merciful, and doesn’t want any of His creation to miss the opportunity for salvation. Hence, He is looking for a generation of believers that is desperate to be a conduit of His salvation message. He’s willing to wait a while longer, apparently, for His Church to come together in revival. And revival is demonstrated through intercessory prayer.
Intercession Is Another Love Language
You’ve heard of the “5 Love Languages,” by Gary Chapman, right? He has identified five manners in which we can demonstrate love: through words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. I would submit intercessory prayer as the sixth love language.
Intercessory prayer unites the hearts of the prayer-offerer and the prayer-beneficiary. When we pray sincerely for one another, we are investing ourselves in each other’s lives. Prayer is one way we an demonstrate that we care about the other’s circumstance enough to spend time in our secret place lifting it up to God and asking for Him to intercede on their behalf. That is powerful stuff, folks!
We should also note how important it is that we let the ones we pray for know we are praying for them. We don’t have to make a big deal about it, and we certainly don’t want to imply they’re lucky to have a great prayer warrior like us consider them worthy of our prayer time. *LOL* NO….we just want to let them know their needs and struggles are important to us; that they matter! It’s a simple way we can communicate our love and support. Everyone needs to hear that once in a while….especially in the midst of a storm or crisis.
Intercession Is a Defense Mechanism
Our intercessions for one another are the defense mechanism of the Church. Bob describes it as akin to the “immunity system of the body of Christ.” It is through our prayers that we are sensitive to and fight off enemy invasion. Unfortunately, it appears the Church is becoming a little (okay, a lot) resistant to pain within the body of Christ. As with leprosy, when the nerves stop functioning – when sensitivity is diminished – it is common for parts of the body to be damaged or even lost. We are seeing that played-out in recent years with increasing numbers leaving the Church. Just look at the evidence in this recent study by the Pew Research Center.
It is critical that we pay attention to the pain of our fellow believers. Pain is actually a good thing; it’s the warning system that alerts us to attack within the body of Christ. It is impossible to look around and not see someone in pain. One may be suffering a health crisis, another a financial crisis, and another a personal crisis. However it manifests itself, pain is all around us. But being aware of it isn’t enough; we need to act! The Church needs to wrap our arms around our brothers and sisters who are suffering. We need to cover them with an umbrella of prayer. We may not be able to take their burden upon ourselves, but we can walk alongside them in their journey. No one should feel alone in their pain.
And we cannot allow our inability to change a situation to stop us from doing what we can do: pray! The rest we leave to “Him who is able to do exceedingly above all that we ask or think, according to the Power that works in us” (Ephesians 3:20 NKJV). When we intercede for one another, healing begins.
Intercession Begins With You
Today, I want you to pray for at least one person you know to be struggling. Then reach out and let them know you are praying for them; that you recognize their struggle, and that it matters. Make a note for yourself to continue to pray for them. Start a prayer list, if you don’t keep one already. If we, the Church, make intercessory prayer a priority in our secret place, God will respond with grace the likes of which we can only imagine! So take hold of the power of intercession today. I promise, it will change lives…including your own. And remember….