“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36).
Intercessory prayer is hard work. It involves communion with the King and compassion for the multitudes. It is understanding the passion of Christ for souls. It is waiting on God to endue us with power from on high in order that we might lead those souls into the kingdom.
Those that have been most useful in reaping a harvest have always been men and women of intercessory prayer. They cry to the Lord for the multitudes. They have no confidence in themselves to build the kingdom of God; they live in absolute dependence upon God.
If we are to reach this generation for Christ, there must be men and women in every nation whose hearts hurt for their countrymen. Jesus had compassion for the multitudes two thousand years ago. Although the multitudes are greater today, He loves, cares for, and wants to save every individual. We need to look at the masses of humanity through the eyes of Jesus. We will see people—real people, hurting people. Too many of us see people only as objects. We need a fresh touch from God. We need to feel the heart of the compassionate King.
Perhaps some Christians will say, “I know that I should have a burden to pray for the world. But it is just not there. I am so busy with my own life and problems that I don’t have time to pray for some people in a distant country that I will never meet.” We must first recognize that we must be delivered from such self-centeredness. The goal of every Christian should be conformity unto the image of Jesus. And the heart of Jesus is for the world. We must confess our apathy as sin and repent of it.
Oh God, I do need a fresh touch from You so that I am able to feel Your heart beat for those who are perishing. Deliver me from my self-absorbed self, and heal my arrogant spirit. I repent of my disobedience and desire to be used for Your purposes in the world. Heal me from my own self-righteousness and allow me to embrace the hurting, the homeless, the weak, the widow and the orphan. Ruin me for anything that is not of You!
Praise God as the Creator, Father, Savior, Lord, and indwelling Spirit of his church. Give thanks for “the holy catholic church, the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.” Reflecting with God on how you aid or damage his church, confess any sin he reveals. Commit to being a helpful member of God’s community. Ask him to work through you to serve and enrich others.
Pray for each member of Christ’s body to excellently manage the treasures and gifts placed in his or her care. Ask God to prompt you to loving and generous service.
–Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend.
Resources for Prayer Leaders:
Prayerleader.com is a website devoted to growing prayer in the local church.
The Church Prayer Leaders Network is for anyone who desires to see his or her church make prayer foundational to its entire ministry. Click the link to find out the advantages to being a member of the CPLN!