Particularly intercessory prayer. That’s why we need to learn the ‘art’ of intercessory prayer.
Part of our responsibility as Christians is interceding or standing in the gap for others. The Bible puts it this way:
I looked for a man 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 none. (Ezekiel 22:30, NIV)
Intercessory prayer is one of the greatest gifts we can give a family member, a friend, a neighbor, a neighborhood, a city, a state, a country and even the world. And the beauty of it is they don’t even have to know that we are praying for them!
To intercede effectively, you need to put yourself in the position of the person or entity you are praying for. You identify with them. If necessary you repent on their behalf. You then take hold of God in the place of prayer and bring Him into their situation!
The Bible is full of excellent examples of intercessors. However I’d like to share two of them today:
1. In Colossians 4:12, we read the following: “Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured” (NIV). Can you visualise this man wrestling in prayer for the church in Colossae? Awesome!!! Have you ever ‘wrestled’ in prayer not for yourself but for somebody else, who may not even be aware!
2. In Genesis 18, Abraham interceded for Sodom and Gomorrah. Let’s read the story from verse 20, as told in The Message: “God continued, ‘The cries of the victims in Sodom and Gomorrah are deafening; the sin of those cities is immense. I’m going down to see for myself, see if what they’re doing is as bad as it sounds. Then I’ll know.’” Then the most astonishing thing which depicts the essence of intercessory prayer happens. This is captured brilliantly by The Message in verse 22: “The men set out for Sodom, but Abraham stood in God’s path, blocking his way.” Wow! When you intercede you are essentially blocking God’s path or standing in the gap between God and the person you’re praying for, and asking Him to have mercy! Abraham then begins to intercede. Unfortunately, he stops praying when God says he won’t destroy the city if there are 10 righteous people in it!
There are certain things God will not do unless somebody here on earth stands in the gap and prays. So God is always seeking people who can intercede. As an intercessor your life pleases God, and there are many blessings. See for instance, Proverbs 16:7 “When a man’s ways are pleasing to the LORD, he makes even his enemies live at peace with him” (NIV).
Why not ask the Lord to teach you the secret of intercessory prayer so, like Epaphras, you can ‘wrestle’ in prayer for others.
Question: What is your experience of intercessory prayer? You can leave a comment by clicking here.