“The real business of your life as a saved soul is intercessory prayer.” – Oswald Chambers.
Have you ever felt an unexplained burden on your heart to pray for those who are far from the heart of God in your community or the world at large? Praying that God will renew our spirits, renew our mind and transform our lives and renew our world as we read about in Isaiah 61:4: “They will rebuild the ancient ruins, repairing cities destroyed long ago. They will revive them, though they have been deserted for many generations.” That is intercessory prayer.
There are many ways to love our neighbor, but intercessory prayer—praying on behalf of other people—is surely one of the most powerful. The Bible is full of examples of intercessory prayers. The prophets prayed for the people of Israel. Jesus faithfully prayed for His disciples. He even intercede for those involved in His crucifixion, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). The book of Hebrews indicates that Jesus will always intercede for us: “Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf.” (Hebrews 7:25).
Jesus often stopped what He was doing to help people whether it was convenient of not. He lived and ministered among the “people.” He did not shy away from interaction with people like tax collectors, prostitutes, and lepers. When Jesus taught the disciples how to pray, he wanted them to remember the needs of others, not just their own needs. So He used plural pronouns like “Give us . . . forgive us . . . lead us . . .deliver us” 1 Timothy 2:1 says, “I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them.”
We are still recovering from Hurricane Michael in large portions of our community. When those around us are hurting or suffering, we offer to ”pray for them.” But then life gets busy and we honor our commitment to pray by offering a quick prayer before moving on.
If we want to intercede to God for people, then we need to take the time to actually pray. Prayer is significant, vital, imperative, essential, critical, crucial… add your own word. But don’t stop there. Ask God how you can take action to help this person in need. Maybe it is taking them grocery shopping, or cooking, or babysitting, or just picking up the phone and calling them.
- Have you seen God work through your intercessory prayers?
- Have you experienced blessing in your life as a result of someone interceding in prayer for you?