Yesterday, Tiffany shared about how prayer must be part of the foundational discipline of the Christian life because it is at the heart of our relationship with God. If we are lacking in prayer, we are probably also lacking in a growing relationship with Jesus Christ:
time spent = depth of intimacy
In our relationships with people, we eventually get to the place where we can have “conversations” without ever saying a word. We learn to perceive attitudes and struggles through suggestive gestures and looks: our soul’s eye catches unrest, joy, disappointment, sorrow or frustration –and the list could go on and on. The more time we spend with these people, the more likely we will be able to understand the matters of their heart. In the same way, the more time you spend with the Lord, the more sensitive your spirit becomes to His Spirit, prompting you to enter into a deeper place of prayer: intercession.
- The outpouring of a sensitive spirit towards God on the behalf of others.
- Something that is conceived in the heart that “sees” as God “sees” and “feels” as God “feels”
- Fervent prayer; it stands in the gap for the soul of another person.
- Evidenced by a large heart that allows God’s love to be channeled through it in prayer.
- For those people and situations that are beyond human control.
- Prayer that often comes in the dark hours, bearing heaviness and tears, and times of ardent words that sometimes take the place of sleep. It is sacrificial, self-giving prayer.
- Wrestling in prayer until we come to peace, knowing we have prayed the will of God.
- Determined faith – God is able to meet the need- accompanied by the earnest desire to see God move.
In the Greek, the word “intercede” means “to come between” (Strong’s OT #6293, NT #5241, 1793). An intercessor stands between a Righteous God and a mortal man. Jesus was the ultimate intercessor: “Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:12). Because He has laid His righteousness on us, we have been enabled to come between God and man in intercession.
As we learn to abide through prayer, we begin to understand the heart of God: realizing that our Heavenly Father looks down and sees every person as a unique creation of His own mastermind –they matter to the Him with whom we have built an intimate relationship with through prayer. Shouldn’t it matter to us that the people around us experience this same privilege? If it matters to you, then where does intercessory prayer start?
Intercession is preceded by a growing personal walk with God in a life of prayer.
Like so many other things, a ministry of prayer for others starts in your own heart and relationship towards God. Without time spent in the near presence of God, how can we understand His heart, His emotions over the sin, and the needs of other people?
Intercession is preceded by the awareness of a need and a willingness to be a channel through which God can meet it.
In Scripture, we see a young Jewish girl who is chosen to be queen of the greatest nation on earth – and for what purpose? She became her peoples intercessor when she became aware of a need and was willing to meet it no matter how much it cost her: “…if I perish, I perish” (Esther 4:16).
Intercession is preceded by the belief that there is power in the prayer of faith.
“The prayer of faith shall save the sick (translated “weary” in the Grk.)…and pray for one another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent (effective putting forth of power) prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:15-16). This re-emphasizes the importance of a growing relationship with God in the personal prayer closet. Without time spent in secret getting to know the Lord, there will be no faith. How can you have faith in someone you do not know? How can you trust someone if you’ve not allowed them to prove themselves faithful? Daily personal prayer will build the foundation for the ministry of intercessory prayer.
Intercession is preceded by a godly emotional response.
David wrote, “Rivers of waters run down mine eyes because they keep not thy law. I beheld the transgressors and was grieved; because they kept not thy Word” (Ps. 119:136, 159). God chooses His intercessors by looking for tender hearts that will weep when He weeps, rejoice when He rejoices, seek persistently as He seeks persistently, hate sin as He hates sin, love righteousness as He loves righteousness – be devoted partakers of the emotions of His heart. As we enter into the closet to intercede, we should be asking, “Lord, what are you feeling right now when you look at this person/situation” and be willing to enter into that with Him!
…it’s a calling…
These four prerequisites for intercession are part of our high and holy calling in prayer. In Part II of Intercessory Prayer, we’ll look at the act of entering into intercession and what that looks like in Scripture and in your life.