Tidbits and Blessings Blog
by Jeanie Malone
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Intercessory prayer is powerful. It is what keeps us safe, focused, and driven to do God’s will. Oswald Chambers wrote in Disciples Indeed, “The meaning of prayer is that I bring power to bear upon another soul that is weak enough to yield and strong enough to resist; hence the need for strenuous intercessory prayer.” Chambers wrote in Christian Discipline, Volume 2, “Intercessory prayer is part of the sovereign purpose of God…We take for granted that prayer is preparation for work, whereas prayer is the work; and we scarcely believe what the Bible reveals—that God’s chosen way of working is through intercessory prayer. We lean unto our own understanding, or we bank on service and do away with prayer. Consequently, by succeeding in the external we fail in the eternal, because in the eternal we succeed only by prevailing prayer” (57).
There is a constant battle for our focus. I love the Irish proverb that says, “Your feet will take you where your heart is.” I believe this is true concerning our spiritual lives as well. Wherever we place our thoughts and attention is where we will end up. Whatever we focus on, we will do. We must continuously focus on God so we remember to pray for one another. We must focus on God so that we are weak enough to yield to Him and strong enough to resist satan.
Romans 8:26-28 says, “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groaning which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for the good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” We see that God Himself as the Holy Spirit prays for us, for needs we aren’t even aware of and cannot put to words to pray for ourselves.
Further in this passage we read, “It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us” (verse 34). Christ makes intercession for us constantly. Notice the verb tenses in verse 34: Christ died—past tense, completed, no longer occurring; now look at the rest of the sentence: is risen again, who is even at the right hand…, who also maketh intercession.” He has risen; He is at the Father’s right hand, and he makes intercession for us. The present tense helps us understand that He makes ongoing intercession for us.
In Ephesians 6 where the armor of God is outlined, we are told to take up the armor “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” (verse 18). It is commanded as something we are to do wearing the armor of God.
Job 42:10 records that “the LORD restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.”
God commanded the exiles to pray for the city where they were taken: “Seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the LORD for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace” (Jeremiah 29:7).
Corrie ten Boom said, “We never know how God will answer our prayers, but we can expect that He will get us involved in His plan for the answer. If we are true intercessors, we must be ready to take part in God’s work on behalf of the people for whom we pray.”
As intercessors, we must expect and be ready for God to put us to work, not only in praying for others but also in bringing about the answers to those prayers. If I pray for someone yet believe that I am too busy to encourage that person in the truth or help them in whatever way God leads, I am not truly breaking through in intercession for that person. If I am not totally dependent on and obedient to God’s leadership, my prayers are useless.
One of my favorite and most read books is The Kneeling Christian by An Unknown Christian. The author says, “Our Savior’s three greatest commands for definite action were: Pray ye—Do this—Go ye!” The author points out that “without obedience to the ‘pray ye,’ it is of little or no use at all either to ‘do this’ or to ‘go’” (16).
Successful prayer is aligned with God’s Word and is prayed by a soul totally dependent upon and trusting in God for not only his own life but also for that of others. That soul must be willing and ready to step out in faith to “do this” and “go” as God bids as part of His working in the life of the one for whom intercession is being made.
Sometimes we are urged by the Holy Spirit to pray for someone because they are in immediate need. There have been countless times in my life where the immediate need for intercessory prayer was confirmed—sometimes later in the same day, sometimes days later, or even weeks later, after praying for someone as God impressed me to do. I am always thankful when God confirms the need after I have prayed for someone.
I can say with heavy sorrow that I remember a time that God impressed me with urgency to pray for someone, but I brushed it off as stress and busyness affecting my mind. Later, God confirmed the need to pray for the person, and I had ignored the invitation to help this person by interceding on her behalf. By ignoring this invitation, I suffered punishment and missed out on the spiritual blessing that comes with intercessory prayer.
It may be a possible traffic accident, giving in to temptations, or that person simply needing a divine touch in their work and activities for that day. Regardless of the need, we should never ignore the invitation God lays on our heart to pray for someone. Often we do not know the exact need until after we pray, and sometimes we may never learn of the need, but we can be assured there is a need when God puts someone on our heart.
Sometimes God puts others on our hearts to pray for them long term for their obedience to God’s purpose for their lives. Sometimes we intercede for a person regarding salvation or submission to God for many years before we see the fruit of our prayers, and sometimes we die without seeing our prayers answered. Whether we see it come to pass or not, we know with certainty that God is serious about prayer and uses our intercessory prayers for one another for His will to be done.
A couple of years ago while I was very sick and not able to do much more than try to get well, God used intercessory prayer to sustain me. While attending an event at the church where I was saved as a teen, a dear lady asked me how my writing was going. Her question caught me off guard because severe sickness had all but taken writing off my radar. God used this precious prayer warrior to remind me of His plans for me. I knew by her question that she was interceding for me, even when I wasn’t strong enough to ask for intercession. I was so struck by the realization that God was using her on my behalf that my faith was fueled to hold on even though I was too sick in that season to see God’s purpose come to fruition in my writing.
Not long after that incident, I came across a personal note I had written in the margin of the book The Kneeling Christian. I had written that intercessory prayer sustains us in seasons of waiting and mentioned the intercessory prayers of two very powerful prayer warriors in my life. God was showing His love for me through these prayer warriors in a difficult season when I felt forgotten. Just knowing that we are remembered in prayer is a powerful catalyst to pick us up when we get knocked down.
It’s important that we remain so close to God that we hear His invitation for us to pray for one another. Intercessory prayer is a supernatural way God knits His people together. He strengthens our love for one another, so we understand the importance of encouraging one another in His truth.
Who is God calling you to pray for today?
In what ways have you experienced the power of intercessory prayer in your life?