Sunday, August 05, 2012

A Week of Intercessory Prayer

This morning at Redeemer I spoke on intercessory prayer. I preached on one verse - Colossians 1:9. Which reads: 9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives...

Paul is praying for the Colossian Jesus-followers. This kind of praying, for others, has been called "intercessory prayer." To "intercede" means: to come between. The word "intersection" is helpful here.

One mile north of our church building is the intersection of Telegraph Road and M-50. If a person's car stalled in the middle of this intersection, would their car be on Telegraph Road or on M-50? The answer would be: both. Because, in this intersection, the properties of Telegraph Road and the properties of M-50 are shared, or are the same.

Something that illustrates this is set theory, in mathematics. In the following diagram there are properties or attributes or elements of Set A that intersect with Set B.

Now imagine that Set A equals the being of God; viz., all God's attributes, God's desires (God's will), and God's character. Imagine, further, that Set B equals the Colossian Jesus-followers (and, by extension, Jesus-followers today). Intercessory prayer is about the intersection of God and God's people. Paul is kneeling at the intersection of A and B, in the place where heaven intersects with earth, and asking God to bring heaven into the earthly existence of the people he is interceding for.

I am defining an "intercessor" as follows: a Jesus-follower who abides in Christ, in prayer, and upon whom God places His heart for others. The prayer is: "God, fill these Colossian Christians with your very heart and strength." The prayer-impetus is from God; it's not something Paul thinks he has invented. These people were first on God's mind, which God then placed on Paul's mind.

This idea makes sense of what is coming next in Col. 1:10; viz., that a revelation and infusion of God's heart inexorably leads to holiness, which is a being-set-apart for God. That's what I'm going to preach on next Sunday.

I felt very strong about this today, and called our beautiful people to a week of intercessory prayer. We've got more people on the prayer team today than we had yesterday. Thus I am filled with much expectation and promise.