Last evening, at our Tuesday evening corporate prayer meeting, we had an extended amount of time (intercession) in prayer for Frank Wolf. We prayed and sought God together for his healing.
At times, in the supernatural realm, it was intense.
We also prayed for David, Donna and the entire Tanzania team - and this missions trip beginning this Sunday afternoon.
Intercessory prayer is so needed in today's world.
We have become consumed with the idea that "praying without ceasing" (1 Thessalonians 5:17) is the only pattern for prayer (in other words - praying throughout the day continually in short bursts) that we have forgotten a sustained period of prayer (that is so needed) both individually and corporately.
In short, we have become to busy to pray.
I would suggest that God's kingdom has lost the ability and desire to participate in the art of sustained prayer for other people's needs (and our own).
Intercessory prayer is not something that needs to be massaged or manipulated by anything other than you and God - face to face, so to speak, in conversation about a need.
I don't need something to "pump me up" or get me "in the mood" to pray.
All I need is a need - and a desire for God to meet that need.
Intercessory prayer is not a time of praise or worship - and of course you know that those times are needed - please don't misunderstand me.
It is not a time where I am "growing in Christ" through communion with God.
It is a time where I am:
Alone. Praying. Conversing. Sharing a need. Not getting up from your knees (physically or metaphorically) until an answer comes.
The word, "intercede" in the Latin means "to go or pass between."
Please understand this: True intercessory prayer is where there are two parties, one with a need and one with an answer - and seeks to bring the two parties together (Tom Eliff).
Moses on the mountaintop, praying for the people of Israel - would be an example of this.
True intercessory prayer contains the following components:
It is intense, passionate.
Sometimes God does listen to the tone of our voice - not because He is deaf, God is not deaf, but because it is a sign that we are really connected to what we are praying about. God would rather have heart with few words - than a lot of words without heart.
It is persistent.
It doesn't give up until the is a sense that an answer has come or an answer is coming. Jesus continually encouraged persistent prayer - not to beg or persuade, but to prepare our hearts (as intercessors) for the answer.
It is "praiseful".
It knows that the ultimate answer is in God's hands. It lifts up a need with thanksgiving in advance - knowing that the answer is coming.
It is powerful.
The enemy flees when Christians gather together to intercede. All of hell cringes when they hear saints of God - with voices lifted on high - bringing a need before the Father.
Now then, let me narrow this down today to that individual with whom you are being challenged by, hurt by, in conflict with.
Jesus said it this way in Matthew 5:44, "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you."
Leonard Ravenhill once wrote: "We never pray for folks we gossip about, and we never gossip about other folks for whom we pray!"
And finally, Dietrich Bonhoeffer: "A Christian fellowship lives and exists by the intercession of its members for one another, or it collapses. I can no longer condemn or hate a brother for whom I pray, no matter how much trouble he causes me. His face, that hitherto may have been strange and intolerable to me, is transformed in intercession into the countenance of a brother for whom Christ died, the face of a forgiven sinner. This is a happy discovery for the Christian who begins to pray for others."
Having troubles with a spouse, a child, a boss, a co-worker, a brother or sister in Christ? - pray.
Let's never underestimate what the Holy Spirit can do.
Just a thought for a Wednesday.