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Intercessory Prayer

Purpose

To join with Jesus in praying for the needs, concerns and care of others.

Introduction

Intercessory Prayer is a way of joining with Jesus in praying for others in need of healing, care, and God’s peace and knowledge of his presence in their lives. It is also a way of praying for the world and different situations, and joining with God in his concern for this. “If we truly love people, we will desire for them far more than it is within our power to give them, and this will lead us to prayer. Intercession is a way of loving others.” It invites us into God’s care and concern for us, our families, and friends, and the entire world. No concern is too trivial for God to receive with loving attention. –Richard Foster Foster also describes Intercessory Prayer as “priestly ministry…As priests, appointed and anointed by God, we have the honor of going before the Most High on behalf of others. This is not optional; it is a sacred obligation—and a precious privilege—of all who take up the yoke of Christ.” When we intercede, we do so in the name of Christ, who has gone to be our Father and continues to intercede for us. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Romans 8:34 (NIV).

Jesus in preparing his disciples for his impending death and resurrection reminded them, “Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” John16:23-24 (NIV). As we pray, the Holy Spirit will be present and will guide us as we intercede. The Holy Spirit, who inhabits our being, personally tutors us in praying and even interprets for us when we are unable to articulate our hearts to God. Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. Romans 8:26-28 (MSG).

Intercession is most commonly done individually, but it can also be done in a group, for when we gather together, Jesus reminds us, “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew18:19-20 (NIV).

Intercessory prayer allows us to surrender our worries and anxieties that we may be carrying for our loved ones into the hands of the Lord. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV).

Practice
As a first step, Richard Foster suggests beginning by praying for an increase in your love for others, and as God grows your capacity to care, you will naturally begin praying for the good of your neighbors, your friends and even your enemies. Some practical ways of practicing Intercessory prayer include:

  • Praying for personal concerns, tasks, transactions and relationships.
  • Joining and contributing to prayer chains to pray for the needs of others and to join in praying, email: prayerchain@annarborvineyard.org with any prayer requests.
  • Joining or attending prayer groups. Sunday Night Intercessors meets at the church every Sunday evening and provide prayer and pray for people. The “Hear” prayer class helps people to be more aware of God’s voice and learns intercessory prayer. Email the church office for more information and meeting times: mainoffice@annarborvineyard.org
  • Going on prayer walks, see section VIII.

Remember
We are never alone. God is with us and is praying for us.—Adele Calhoun.

Additional resources
Richard Foster. Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home. (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1992)

 
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