Enjoying the Journey
In recent weeks the Lord has been dealing with me about so many weaknesses in my own prayer life. One of the most glaring has been my failure in the matter of intercessory prayer. Perhaps no where is our selfishness more on display than in our prayer life. “Lord, bless my four, and no more” is not so far removed from the reality of most of our prayers.
When we do pray for others by name it seems that it is often motivated by our sheer frustration with them! We are much better at praying imprecatory prayers (praying against others) than we are intercessory prayers (praying for others). The heart of Jesus is one of an intercessor. Read John 17 and see how the Lord prayed for his disciples!
Intercessory prayer is the forgotten ministry of the church. Few speak of it because it is done in private and not in public. Its aim is Godward and not man-ward. Intercessory prayer is secret work but it brings open blessing.
At the judgment seat of Christ I am quite sure that many a preacher will stand aside as a unknown, unnamed prayer warrior is rewarded. Intercession may be forgotten by man but it is never forgotten by God. The incense from the Old Testament altar rose up as a memorial before the Lord. And so do our prayers.
How do we know that the ministry of intercession is important to God? This is the ministry that both the Son of God (Heb. 7:25) and the Spirit of God (Rom. 8:26) are engaged in at this moment. To intercede for men is to be in tune with God.
We all want to be a help to others. We teach. We counsel. We preach. We work. We write. We visit. But do we pray? The Apostle Paul requested prayer with the following words, “Ye also helping together by prayer for us…” (2 Cor. 1:11). The greatest help we can be to others is to pray for them.
1 Timothy 2:1, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;”
First of all…intercessions. John Bunyan said, “We can do more than pray after we have prayed, but we can do no more than pray until we have prayed.” May God help us all to become intercessors. It is then that we are most like our Lord.