Prayer: Growing In Intercession
Intercessory Prayer is praying to God on behalf of others. God Desires us to Stand in the Gap.
Ezekiel 22:30 I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one.
This is the gap between the needs of the nation and the people who are praying. An intercessor is one who plead the case of another to God asking for His divine intervention. When we pray for others we are standing in the gap between their needs and God’s blessing. Below are some ideas to help us grow in our intercessory prayer practices. Some are ‘borrowed’ and the resources are listed at the end of this post.
1. Intercessory Prayer Begins With Friendship With God
The idea of intercession is that we draw close to God so that we can present the case of someone else to Him. When we spend time with God we try to see things the way God sees them so that we can pray in accordance with His will.
“We look upon prayer as a means of getting things for ourselves; the Bible’s idea of prayer is that we may get to know God himself” – Oswald Chambers.
2. Intercessory Prayer Grows When Our Knowledge of Scripture Grows.
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double- edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Let God’s Word guide your prayers. Pray a specific Psalm over a person or a nation, inserting actual names where possible.
1 John 5:14 If we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
This means that when we pray in accordance with his will we can expect an answer. If God’s Word is in our hearts, then his desires become our desires and we can have assurance he will answer our prayers. Make sure your prayers are in line with Scripture. The Lord always honors his word.
3. Intercessory Prayer Grows in Silence
It is totally normal to have moments of silence when we pray. Before sitting in silence, pray, asking God to show you a picture or give you a scripture to reveal the desire of His heart.
Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.
4. Intercessory Prayer Looks Beyond Self to Caring for Others
Intercession is born out of genuine love for God and for men. It is more than sympathy, though … it is seeking God’s will for their lives.
It is impossible for us to have living and vital intercession unless we are perfectly and completely sure of God. And the greatest destroyer of that confident relationship to God, so necessary for intercession, is our own personal sympathy and preconceived bias. – Oswald Chambers
5. Intercessory Prayer Can Be Before or After a Time of Worship
To worship before prayer is a way to recognize the presence and power of God. Worship shifts focus from our own ideas and agendas to the heart and agenda of God. Worship can be in song, reading Scripture, writing thoughts of devotion.
6. Intercessory Prayer Is Characterized By Jesus’ Name
Numerous Bible references talk about the importance of praying in the Name of Jesus. Jesus Himself said,
Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you (John 16:23).
When we pray in the Name of Jesus, God the Father hears us. He responds to the prayer offered in the name of his Son Jesus, because our relationship with God is through the Son.
7. Intercessory Prayer Requires Personal Introspection.
1 John 3:22 Whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.
Are there places of disobedience you’ve been unwilling to yield? These need to be confessed and forgiven before moving forward in prayer.
James 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
8. Intercessory Prayer is the Activity of a Believer.
God wants us to have faith that he will hear our prayers.
Matthew 21:22 Whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.
The Lord promises to respond to our prayer of faith.
Ephesians 3:12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.
9. Intercessory Prayer Relies on the Holy Spirit.
Romans 8:26 “Likewise the Spirit also helps us in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself makes intercession for us with groaning which cannot be uttered.”
We don’t always know how to pray, and we don’t always feel like praying. Therefore we need the Spirit’s power to help us pray.
10. Intercessory Prayer is Persistent.
Don’t give up if you haven’t received an answer to your prayers. Throughout the Bible there are stories of men and women who persevered in prayer. In Luke 18:1-8 there was a little old widow who did not lose heart. James tells us that the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
Isaiah 62:6-7 I have posted watchmen on your walls, Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night. You who call on the Lord, give yourselves no rest, and give him no rest till he establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth.
Conclusion: Growing In Intercessory Prayer Will Require…
1. Friendship With God
2. Knowledge of the Word
3. Grows in Silence
4. Looks Beyond Self
5. Connected to Worship
6. Offered in Jesus’ Name
7. Personal Introspection
8. In Accordance with Belief
9. Relies on the Holy Spirit
Does Prayer require a great deal of effort? It certainly does … but is anything more vital to our lives and how can we pursue anything that is of more worth?
Resources For Further Reading
Five Keys to Growing in Intercessory Prayer
Keys to Personal Prayer
Becoming an Effective and Successful Intercessor
Vital Intercession – Chambers
Free Prayer Guide for Families Facing Medical Adversity