First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people…
1 Timothy 2:1 ESV
“God bless Mommy and Daddy… Grandma and my friends… God bless my dog Max and help people that are sick…” We might not realize it but some of our first prayers are all about intercession. Praying for others is a gift for us and others. But… it is also endless. At least it seems that way to me at times. I look at the needs of my family, church, community and well… I’m just overwhelmed. I’ve never been too great about lists, and prayer concerns often seem like another to-do list in need of checking.
Practicing this part of prayer is about listening. I have a thought about someone… some issue and it spurs me to pray. This is how Holy Spirit works in me when it comes to intercession. I listen, He speaks, and I respond.
Intercession. It’s not a word I was very familiar with before I began my walk with God, but it’s become something I do daily. Something I do with Him.
Interceding on behalf of another, coming between them and God, praying on their behalf for their needs, concerns, or salvation is something I’ve learned to do through God’s Word and by His Spirit. I’ve come to understand He has a way for each person, each concern, a way He wants to intervene in their life. The power of intercession is to come into agreement with God concerning His will and purpose when you pray. I’ve learned to ask first: Lord, what do you want me to pray?
Praying for others brings God’s power, Word, and will into the lives of those you pray for. It is working with God, being a conduit for Him in this world. All while you learn more about His ways and His heart.
Intercession is a prayer, petition or entreaty (an earnest request) in favor of another (Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary). This is the time we come before God asking Him to become involved in our lives and the lives of others. The Greek word exteuxis, translated as intercession, originally meant to have a social interaction, or intimate and personal communion with another, but later came to mean an appeal to authority… one whose jurisdiction it was to grant the request (Key Word Study Bible, Greek Lexical Aid). When we approach God in prayer both meanings apply.
God loves us and wants to interact with us and He just happens to be the One with the greatest and final authority over our lives and the lives of others. Our time of intercession is not just a time to make our requests to God but also a time to hear what God’s will is for our lives and the lives of those around us.
We are called to intercede for everyone.
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
—1 Timothy 2:1-3 ESV
We are called to pray on behalf of people we love, people we don’t know, and people we may not even like. Praying for the salvation of others pleases God.
As we come to know God through prayer and through His Word He shows us how to pray for others and ourselves. God wants us to learn to pray for and desire His will not our own. When we pray according to His will the answer is Yes.
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us — whatever we ask — we know that we have what we asked of him.
—1 John 5:14-15 NIV (Emphasis added.)
When we pray we need to listen and let the Holy Spirit guide us.
There may be times of such distress, confusion, and sadness we don’t know where to start our prayer or what to pray for. We may be so overwhelmed we can only sob and groan at God’s feet. This is enough — God knows — as Christians we have the power of the Holy Spirit interceding for us.
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
—Romans 8:26-27 ESV
Call out to God for yourself and others. He is waiting for you to ask Him to intervene.
“… Call on Me in the day of trouble; I will rescue you, and you will honor Me.”
—Psalm 50:15 HCSB
Coming to God with our troubles, trusting Him with our prayers, brings His deliverance into our lives. Then we will honor God by sharing with others His great faithfulness.
Talk It Out
Talk it over with yourself:
When you pray, do you pray mostly for your needs or for the needs of others?
Look again at 1 Timothy 2:1-3. Write in your journal specific individuals you should pray for.
Talk it over with God:
Pray for the individuals you listed above. If you don’t know if they are Christians, pray for their salvation. If they are a Christian ask for God’s will to be done in their lives. As you pray for each individual by name, listen for the Holy Spirit to guide your prayer specifically for each person.
Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Matthew 6:10 ESV
Exercise Your Faith
There are times when I thank God for the work He is doing in a particular situation or person’s life even when I don’t see the results yet. This is faith in action. Write one thing you can thank Him for in advance. In faith, give Him thanks.
No prompts today. Recite this week’s verse or write it in your journal.
Do you remember last week’s verse for Believe? Recite or write it, too.