A Gift We All Can Give

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When I am privileged to pray for others, it is one of the joys of my life. Yesterday I joined hands in a circle of a grieving family members and asked Jesus to be their Comfort; and felt His Presence. When I stand alongside of the bed of someone in the hospital, I know I am there not just to visit and talk about life, there is a moment when we pray together, and I lift them to our Father.  Often, when I awaken in the small hours of the morning, I remember friends, family, people in the congregation and quietly, there in the darkness, I pray for them. In this way, I give a gift we all can give to others.

Before you think me a saint, let me hasten to add, that I could and should pray much better than I do. I admire those who find it possible to spend hours before the Throne of God. I pray here and there, in short entreaties, sometimes in tears, sometimes in song, often ‘in the Spirit’ as I slip into a heavenly language understood only by my God.

How and when you pray, (and I do hope that you pray!) remember that form of prayer called intercession.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with praying for your own needs. God invites us to bring all of our requests to Him, as a child would come to her loving Dad.  But, there is a joy in serving as an intercessor; coming before God on behalf of another. Since Jesus Christ’s coming, the act of intercession is no longer restricted to a few persons.  He has made us, John explains, “priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.” (Revelation 1:6, NIV)

A story from Abraham’s experience, told in the 18th chapter of Genesis, teaches us something of this kind of prayer.  The Lord revealed to Abraham that He planned to destroy Sodom because “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous.” (Genesis 18:20, NIV) Abraham steps up on behalf of the city and engages the Lord in a conversation that looks like bargaining.

Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked?” (Genesis 18:23, NIV)  “Will you destroy the city if there are 50 righteous in it?” And, so it goes, until Abraham reaches the number 10! Boldly he appeals to the Lord on behalf of the righteous in the city. While there is much mystery in the whole interaction, the greatest lesson is that there is a valid role for us in praying for others, those who cannot rescue themselves.

Prayer does change people and situations. Sometimes it is instantaneous; often it is incremental.  Just because prayer does not always work like throwing a light switch, let’s not quit, or assume that ‘it will all work out regardless of prayer.’  In the mystery of prayer, God invites us to become advocates of His will and purpose in our world.  Does He know what we tell Him in prayer? Of course, He does, but yet He asks us to come and to make our requests known.  Still, He asks us to agree with Him, to earnestly pray for “His will to be done and His kingdom to come.”

One of the by-products of genuine intercession is what it produces in us. When we are praying for a nation, a city, or even our family – not ritual prayers, not tired prayers, but those that come from our true concern – those prayers create concern, love, and engagement. We become people who are aligned with God, first in our hearts, then in our actions. Our loving, sincere prayers offered on behalf of those who are ignorant or apathetic towards Christ, make a difference.

Are you a faithful intercessor? Don’t gauge the effect of your prayers by your emotional intensity or by results seen in the next moment. Be consistent, be authentic, letting your prayers reflect the child-like faith of which Jesus speaks:   “Mark this: Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in.” (Mark 10:15-16, The Message)

 Be a priest on behalf of your world! When you go before the Lord, bring them to Him, seeking His gracious mercy. Amazing things can happen.

Here’s a word from the Word. May the Spirit make it a call to action for each of us.
“Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with.” (James 5:16, The Message)

________________ 

Here As In Heaven
(Elevation Worship invites us into Gods’ Presence)

 The atmosphere is changing now
For the Spirit of the Lord is here
The evidence is all around
That the Spirit of the Lord is here

 Overflow in this place
Fill our hearts with your love
Your love surrounds us
You’re the reason we came to encounter your love
Your love surrounds us

 Spirit of God fall fresh on us
We need your presence
Your kingdom come your will be done
Here as in heaven

 A miracle can happen now
For the Spirit of the Lord is here
The evidence is all around
That the Spirit of the Lord is here

Chris Brown | Mack Brock | Matthew Ntlele | Steven Furtick | Wade Joye
© 2015 Music by Elevation Worship Publishing (Admin. by Essential Music Publishing LLC) CCLI License # 810055

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