Of course, intercession is not only for God. God has so linked us with Himself that what is for Him is also for us. The apostle Paul links both God’s glory and the believer’s glory to prayer. After reporting to the Thessalonians how he prays for them he says, “We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you and you in him” (2 Thessalonians 1:11–12). The last phrase, “and you in him,” is the surprise. With that phrase Paul is saying, “My prayers will bring glory not only to Christ, but also to you who belong to Christ.” God’s glory and the believer’s highest good are secured by intercessory prayer at one and the same time.
Our intercessory prayers release God’s rich blessings in the world—blessings that ripple on for many years, through many lives, and in many different forms. God is the first one to be blessed when we intercede, but not the last. When the lives of parents are touched through prayer, the blessing accrues to their children and grandchildren. When a pastor is blessed through intercessory prayer, his congregation is also enriched spiritually. When intercessors pray a friend to Christ, all that person’s relationships are affected for the rest of his or her life. The hand that is moved when we pray is the hand of our loving, almighty, all-wise, everlasting Father. No wonder, then, that our intercessory prayers to the Father have such a huge ripple effect.
When we seek to orient all our prayers to what God is doing and plans to do, the Holy Spirit will always be there to help us. He will guide us to pray in line with the purposes of God. He knows what will bring glory to the Father and blessing to humankind, and He will guide us to pray along those lines. Satan will, of course, be there tempting us to make intercession a tool for special favors and personal advantage. If, however, we pray “in the Spirit” and “in Jesus’ name,” our prayers will always be, first of all, for God. They will be used to achieve God’s purposes and will inevitably frustrate the devil and his purposes. That’s what you want to see happen, isn’t it?
Lord, my prayers have not always been focused on the purposes of Your heart, but on my own selfish needs and desires. Teach me to recognize that my prayers are always significant when they are lined up with Your plans and purposes so that the ways of the devil are frustrated and defeated! Help me to see how my prayers are able to bring glory to Christ and also to those who belong to Him! May my intercessory prayers release Your blessings into the lives of people I love and people whom I have never met. Pour out Your power in response to the prayers of Your people lifting up governments, nations and peoples all over the world.
–Adapted from Praying God’s Heart (Prayers that Make a Difference) by Alvin VanderGriend. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.
Praise God for caring for you (1 Pet. 5:7). Thank him for being so interested in your welfare that he even knows the number of hairs on your head (Lk.12:7). Confess those times when you failed to take his care seriously. Commit yourself to imitating God’s care by caring selflessly for others. Ask him to fill your heart and mind with a sense of his deep love for you.
Pray that your church’s evangelistic efforts will be caring efforts. Ask God to show your church how to minister to more than just the spiritual needs of those who don’t have a saving relationship with Christ.
“Life’s best outlook is a prayerful uplook.” —Anonymous
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