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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 29

Prayers of Intercession

Prayers of intercession are the most selfless prayers we can pray as believers. A prayer of intercession is when we come before God on behalf of others. It is when we stand in the gap, and bring the needs of others before the throne of God, rather than our own. Selflessness is an appropriate and much desired fragrance for any believer, one that ought to follow us wherever we go. Nothing reveals the heart of Christ in us more vividly than selflessness, and nothing exemplifies selflessness in our prayers like prayers of intercession.

For those whom the Lord has taught to pray, prayers of intercession are a regular occurrence throughout their prayer lives. There will always be someone in need of intercession; there will always be someone who has either asked us to pray for them, or who we feel in our hearts we ought to be praying for.

Nowadays a good percentage of the prayers of intercession prayed, are by mothers and fathers interceding for their sons and daughters. To any mother and father who have shed a tear on behalf of their offspring, to any parent who has prayed countless prayers for their children, I tell you this day, they are not in vain. Though you might see no change as yet, though there is no tangible proof that God has heard and answered your prayers of intercession, not a tear is shed, not a sincere prayer is prayed, without God having heard it, and recorded it in His book of remembrance.

Though there are countless ways in which we waste and squander the precious resource of time, prayers of intercession will never be counted among them. There is no such thing as a wasted prayer!

When we intercede in prayer for another, what we are doing is pleading on another’s behalf. Though we might not even know the individual we are praying for, since nowadays prayer needs are circulated far and wide with the click of a button, what we are doing when we are interceding on their behalf is trying to persuade God to resolve their issue through our prayer. There are many issues that fall under the umbrella of intercession. Whether the issue we are interceding for is healing, deliverance, the restoration of a broken marriage, or the return of a wayward child to the path of righteousness, when we pray prayers of intercession we are coming before God asking that He work on behalf of another.

God answers prayers of intercession and honors those who show selflessness by praying them. I have been blessed to know a handful of intercessors in my lifetime, and there are still some who intercede for our ministry and the work we do on a daily basis. To the last, true intercessors are by their nature and calling, selfless individuals. They are concerned with the wellbeing, welfare, and comfort of others rather than their own, and they consistently put the needs of others above their own needs.

Of all the prayers available to us, those who pray prayers of intercession have been given a special title. They are known as intercessors. Intercessors are defined by their capacity for mercy, their humility, their service, and their willingness to sacrifice of themselves for others.

It is a humbling thing being in the presence of a true intercessor, because it inevitably makes you look at your own life, and acknowledge the deficiency of selflessness in your own heart. I have known intercessors who were bedridden, who could not go out and preach, or give aid to the poor, but who could spend their days in prayer, and rather than pray for themselves, they chose to devote their lives to praying for others.

Although I never verbalized it, I’ve often wondered why it was that these individuals, some suffering from very painful ailments, didn’t pray for themselves and their own situation with as much fervor and passion as they did for others. I’ve thought about this a lot, and the only answer that makes sense is that they have the true heart of Jesus, and are so focused on the needs of others that they forget about their own.

When we intercede in prayer for another, we are pleading their cause before God. We are asking God to move on their behalf, even though some of those we are praying for are at the moment of our prayers at enmity against Him.

When we pray for the salvation of a neighbor, a friend, or a family member, when we pray that the light of grace shine in their heart and their eyes be opened to the love of Christ, we are interceding on their behalf even though they neither know Jesus, nor love Him.

Prayers of intercession stir the heart of God, and in turn, God begins to stir the heart of the individual we have been pleading for in our prayers.

In its broadest definition a prayer of intercession is a prayer prayed for anyone else other than oneself concerning a need, a trial, or a hardship in their lives. For me, salvation falls under the category of need, in fact the most vital and overriding need in the life of every individual on the planet.

Even if we don’t know we are interceding, or we don’t label it as a prayer of intercession, if we analyze our prayer lives, we come to realize that we spend a significant amount of time in prayers of intercession. Whether praying for a loved one to be healed, praying for a friend to remain strong through a tragedy in their life, praying for a spouse to come to the Lord, or praying for believers halfway across the world to have their needs met in a supernatural way, we are praying prayers of intercession.

The key to any prayer of intercession is to pray for others as we would have them pray for us. When we come before God in this frame of mind, our prayers of intercession will be vibrant and fervent, passionate and insistent, because we are praying as we would have others pray for us if we were in the same situation.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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