Tuesday, April 02, 2019

Intercessory Praying

Image result for john piippo lake erie
(I'm praying here today - Lake Erie, Monroe)
Today I'm going to a lonely place of least distraction, and praying.

I'm caring with me pages of prayer requests, sent to me this morning. I will spend 3-4 hours praying over these requests (could be longer).

Here are some things I have written on intercessory praying, from my book Praying.

Praying with a God-Burdened Heart 

The word “intercession” means “to come between.” To pray, in the sense of interceding for someone, means to come between that person and God, on that person’s behalf. In intercessory praying I stand in for someone else. 

Lloyd Ogilvie defined intercessory praying this way: Intercession is not so much placing our burdens on God’s heart, but God putting his burdens on our hearts. How does this happen? The God-burdened heart arises from a God-presenced heart. As I consistently and deeply abide in the presence of the Almighty, I encounter people-burdens that lie on the heart of God. 

There are many people to be praying for today. As God places his concerns for people on my heart this will be my praying life. 

Intercessors Pray Like This

Intercessory praying brings changes in the lives of other persons. Intercession can alter the spiritual situation of those for whom we pray. Do I believe this? Of course. I would not pray for others if I did not believe this. 

Paul assumed his prayers for people had causal efficacy. Praying strengthens the people you pray for. Where praying focuses, power falls. In Paul we have a model of how to pray for others. For example: 

I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, 
he may grant that you may be strengthened 
in your inner being with power through his Spirit, 
and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, 
as you are being rooted and grounded in love. 
I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, 
with all the saints, 
what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 
and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, 
so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Ephesians 3:16-19

Using this prayer, we construct a template for intercessory praying that looks like this. 

God, I pray that _______________ would be strengthened in their inner being through Your Spirit. 

I pray that You, Jesus, might make ______’s heart Your home. 

I pray that _______ might have the power to understand and know Your great love that transcends mere human knowledge. 

I pray that _______ would be filled with all Your fullness. In another place Paul prayed for others this way: 

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and through grace gave us eternal comfort and good hope, comfort their hearts and strengthen them in every good work and word. 

Intercessors, therefore, can pray like this: 

God, I pray that You bring Your comfort and hope to ___________’s heart and strengthen _______ in every good thing they do and say.

- From John Piippo, Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God