Lately, I’ve been schooled by Oswald Chambers (O.C.) through his daily devotional My Utmost for His Highest. I’ve come to understand that when I do not comprehend what I’m reading, there must be something important there for me to learn. This happens with scripture as well as through reading certain tried and true Bible scholars such as O.C. Perhaps like me, you too have struggled to understand the nature of effective intercessory prayer – as in praying for others or circumstances in which you see a need for God’s intervention. I’ve been touched by O.C.’s devotional on intercessory prayer.
What I have learned is that prayer opens my heart to God’s will for that person or circumstance. I now pray believing that He is able to give me a fresh attitude, one that He Himself has approved. I’ve found new freedom in believing, trusting, and seeking the Lord that He will show me and give me His heart for that person or circumstance. I don’t understand why God chooses to use us in this way other than He wants to bless us by teaching us how we can partner with Him to bring change in one another’s lives, hearts, and circumstances. This requires intercessory prayer and in O.C.’s words, “You cannot intercede if you do not believe in the reality of the Redemption…”
Effective intercessory prayer is firmly grounded on the foundation of His Redemptive work on the cross. Christ’s victory at the cross confirms to me that His truth is available to us through prayer and lies within each of us who have received Christ as our savior. If our concerns for circumstances and others are due to sin, which often they are, we must believe that He died for these concerns and rose again on the 3rd day for our justification. He has already redeemed the sins of the world. The bank of His grace is always open and His resources are unlimited and unending for those who believe. In O.C.’s words “When we pray on the ground of Redemption, God creates something He can create in no other way than through intercessory prayer.”
One of the keys to successful intercessory prayer is not to get ahead of God in the process of His work in the circumstance or the one for whom we intercede. It’s critical to stay in lock-step with the Lord both for our benefit and the situation we are praying for. Praying our own will and not God’s will can do nothing but frustrate us and will be ineffective for remedying the situation for which we are praying. Our prayers become inconsequential at best in enhancing both our ability to witness or counsel and in bringing another’s relationship closer to the Lord. At worst, to borrow O.C.’s word, we will be “crushed” when the reality of God’s communication to us is not injected in our work and our prayers. It “…will only increase one’s submissive content to being out of touch with God.” In other words, nobody wins. Our prayers must be based on God’s giving of His heart to us. They must be based on His truth and supported by His Word. Luke’s gospel tells us “…men ought always to pray and not lose heart…” It can take patience and perseverance in prayer to know God’s heart.
I can become so critical of God’s children. The truths embedded in effective intercessory prayer are helping me to overcome this nature; clearly, it is a remnant from the old man. I’m relieved to know that criticism is not God’s heart for His children: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…” It is freeing to become more Christ-like in our attitudes and in our prayers on the behalf of others. This is my personal challenge and if you too struggle in this area you may want to consider this to be your challenge as well.
Please join us at 6:30-7:30 AM Wednesdays in the fireside room for our men’s weekly prayer time or on Saturdays at 8:00 AM.
- Luke 18:1
- Luke 11:11-13
- John 8:31,32
- James 1:2-8
- Romans 8:1
- Philippians 4:6,7
- Psalm 37:4
- Proverbs 20:5
- My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers, December 13