We’ve just restarted a program in our church, something we did years ago, but that fell by the wayside. It’s good that we’ve picked it up and resown the seed. The program is an official “pray for your church family” list, with a new list coming out each week of seven individuals or families to pray for, one each day, with specific requests for each. We are also including one of our missionary or special agencies each week, so that they will be prayed for every day. It’s something we should have been doing all along, and I’m thankful that Deb Marx has picked it up again as a specific ministry of hers to promote for the church body.
Even though we have specific requests, there are also other ways we can and should pray. There are many books that have wonderful ideas, one of which is by Nancy Guthrie, “I’m Praying for You.” This book is targeted specifically to those who are hurting, offering ways we can pray for them.
Another thought comes from another book, “A Good Old Age” by Derek Prime, which is an alphabetical look at things we can do as we grow older, or, as the cover says, “An A to Z of loving and following the Lord Jesus in later years.” Even though the target demographic is older people, many of the principles are applicable for anyone of any age. One of these is “I is for Intercession.”
Below is an excerpt from that chapter.
Intercession should be made for everyone
“I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone –for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2: 1–4).
As God’s concern is for all men and women the world over, so too must ours. Governments and rulers are not to be neglected in our intercession. There will not be a single day when on the radio or television news matters don’t arise that should prompt us to pray, whether it be matters of government policy or the urgent needs of refugees or people being overwhelmed by natural disasters. Why not listen to every news bulletin with a view to making its urgent issues an immediate matter for prayer? Similarly, every time I hear an ambulance or police siren I feel it appropriate to pray for those in danger and those going to assist them. I am ignorant of the details, but God is not. Intercession should also be made for those who hold special responsibilities of spiritual leadership. Sometimes decisions or ways of doing things may bother us, but that should be grounds for us to pray for the leadership rather than to criticise them. Sadly, critical people seldom pray.
Paul’s requests for prayer to his prayer-partners provide helpful guidance in praying for those serving and proclaiming the Lord Jesus:
- Deliverance from malicious unbelievers.
- Acceptance with God’s people.
- Health of mind and body.
- The ability to speak the right words boldly at the moment of opportunity.
If we pray biblical petitions like these we may be sure of interceding according to the will of God, and equally sure that God will answer.
Characteristics of intelligent intercessory prayer
An important aid to intelligent intercession is given in Hebrews 13: 3:
‘Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow-prisoners, and those who are ill-treated as if you yourselves were suffering’.
It helps us to pray intelligently if we picture in our mind each person for whom we pray and try to put ourselves into their situation as far as we know it.
Paul’s instructions to Timothy regarding intercession also contain a word we may easily overlook:
‘I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone’.
There are occasions when we may find ourselves predisposed to criticism rather than commendation, finding it easier to pick holes than to be constructive. Intercession can then, if we are not careful, become a kind of critical lecture to God about our fellow believers. That is a frightening possibility. The effort to thank God for every good thing we see in those for whom we pray provides a healthy corrective against this peril. It will cause us to rejoice before God because of His grace and power seen in the lives of so many. Interceding correctly for others means praying positively for them. Negative praying is not really intercession at all.
All that to say, pray for each other, whether it is through an organized program such as ours, or on your own. It’s an integral part of your Christian life!
By the way, Amazon requires me to say that if you purchase one of the books I’ve referenced through the link on my page, I may get a small commission, which in no way affects your purchase price.