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Cultivating Personal Growth

Prayer Series | Intercessory Prayer

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

With all that is happening in the world and in our own homes, it’s important to remember the necessity of prayer. Prayer is our direct line into God. It’s the place where we can enter into His rest by sharing the desires of our hearts, seeking His forgiveness, and expressing gratitude for all that God has done. Prayer is also the place for intercession. We intervene on behalf of others so that God can do for them, what cannot be done by anyone else.

An Example of Intercessory in the Bible

One of the greatest examples of intercessory prayer in the Old Testament was given by Moses, for the Israelites.  After journeying through the wilderness, the Israelites had reached the promise land. What a sweet ending to their journey from slavery in Egypt. The land was occupied, and so they sent 12 spies to survey the area. 10 of those spies reported back that while the land was bountiful, they would not be able to overtake the city. Two spies, Joshua and Caleb, believed that God was with the Israelites, and they would be able to overtake the city (Numbers 14:6-9).

The Israelites responded to Joshua and Caleb’s faith, with cries to stone the two spies. What an odd response to the concept of trusting in God. I am thankful, however, that in that moment, “the glory of the Lord appeared in the tabernacle of meeting before all of the children of Israel.”(Numbers 14:10) There would be no killing of Joshua and Caleb.

Then the Lord said to Moses: “How long will these people reject Me? And how long will they not believe Me, with all the signs which I have performed among them? I will strike them with the pestilence and disinherit them, and I will make of you a nation greater and mightier than they.”

Numbers 14:11-2

Moses’ Intercession

Moses’ response to the Lord was filled with compassion and mercy for his people. He requested that God not destroy them. Moses gave a heart-felt argument, saying that other nations would speak out against God if God destroyed His people. Moses also asked God to be longsuffering and abundant in mercy since that is who God is. In closing, Moses asked God to “pardon the iniquity of this people, I pray, according to the greatness of Your mercy, just as You have forgiven this people from Egypt until now.” (Numbers 14:19) ­­

Moses recognized that the Israelites, in their disconnected state from God, were not making the best choices. With grace, Moses chose to intercede on their behalf. God heard Moses’ prayers and had mercy on the Israelites. Nevertheless, God did still punish those who sinned by declaring they would not enter the promise land. The exception would be Caleb & Joshua since they remained faithful (Numbers 14:30). God, however, kept His promise to the Israelites – and their children – the next generation- would receive the blessing. Moses’ intercession saved an entire nation. This story teaches us that there is power in intercessory prayer.

Sharing in Burdens

To intercede on someone’s behalf is an act of faith. We leverage our own relationships with God to better the lives of others. We go to the throne of God, believing that He will extend His mercy, grace, and compassion to those in need. Sometimes, those in need are struggling to seek God for themselves because their burdens are just too heavy to bear. Other times, their minds are so clouded by sin that they do not see the value in seeking God. Still, there are those who are praying continuously God but still need help carrying their burdens. Through communal uplifting and encouragement, their load is lightened.

Yet no matter the situation, Galatians 6:2 admonishes us to: “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Helping one another is an expression of God’s love. And although Galatians 6:5 reminds us that we are accountable to God for our actions, such a mandate does not mean that we should navigate through life without help. It’s okay to ask our community in Christ for intercessory prayer. Life is difficult. God never meant for us to go through it alone. We are responsible for encouraging and uplifting one another, just as Christ does for us. Showing others His love is the truest expression of the character of Christ.

The Personal Blessings of Intercessory Prayer

Furthermore, intercessory prayer isn’t just for the intended recipients. It also helps us. How so? Here are three ways intercessory prayer blesses us:

  • When we help others, we grow our faith.

    As God answers our prayers, we are reminded that God hears us. He sees us and seeks to respond to the burdens on our hearts, whether it be for ourselves or for others.

  • We learn how to be more selfless.

    When we pray for others, we are no longer focusing on self. We’re using our time to uplift someone else, prioritize God’s will, and find good in their good.

  • Most importantly, to intercede on someone else’s behalf strengthens our own relationship with God.

    We learn to trust His way, to be a voice of encouragement, and to love on even deeper levels.

As we continue on our personal journeys, I pray that we all spend time during devotion in intercessory prayer. There are so many blessings that are waiting to be poured out upon us if we would only lift each other up to the throne of God. Intercession isn’t a place for judgment or a reason to engage in idle gossip. Instead, it’s the gift that we can give one another through our relationships with God.

May God bless You and keep You, as we learn to have stronger relationships with Him through prayer. #lovesanaction

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