The Discipline of Intercession

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. —James 5:16

I believe that one of the most difficult things we are called to do as a Christian is to pray regularly, compassionately, and fervently for others. Intercession is taking other people’s needs to God. This spiritual discipline flows out of a relentless passion for God. When we fail, we can blame Satan, as he does not want us to intercede for others. Yet sometimes our own self-centeredness moves us out of the discipline of intercession. Scripture is full of examples where people intercede by praying for others. Other verses show people requesting prayer from others for themselves. Here are a few examples of intercession:

• Jesus said to pray for those who persecute us. (Matthew 5:44)

• Jesus prayed for the people crucifying Him. (Luke 23:32)

• Jesus intercedes for us at the right hand of God. (Romans 8:34)

• Paul asked the Colossians to pray for an open door for his message. (Colossians 4:3)

• Paul told the Romans that he constantly remembered them in prayer. (Romans 1:9-10)

• Paul told the church at Corinth that he prayed for their perfection. (2 Corinthians 13:7-9)

• Paul told the church in Ephesus that he prayed for God to strengthen them with power. (Ephesians 3:16)

• Paul encouraged the Ephesians to keep on praying for all the saints. (Ephesians 6:18)

• Paul also asked the church in Ephesus to pray for him to fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel. (Ephesians 6:19)

• Paul prayed for the love of the Philippians to abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight. (Philippians 1:9)

• Paul simply asked the Thessalonians to pray for him. (1 Thessalonians 5:25)

• Paul asked the Thessalonians in his second letter to pray that the message of the Lord would spread rapidly and be honored. (2 Thessalonians 3:1)

• Paul told the Romans, the Corinthians, the Colossians, the Thessalonians, Timothy, and Philemon that he thanked God for them. (Romans 1:8; 1 Corinthians 1:4; Colossians 1:3; 1 Thessalonians 1:2; 2 Timothy 1:3; Philemon 4)

• The writer of Hebrews asked the people simply to pray for him and his companions. (Hebrews 13:18)

Father, give me a “relentless passion” for You!  Protect me from the temptations and evil plans of Satan, who hates it when I pray.  Keep me focused on the discipline of intimacy with You in prayer.  Turn my heart towards thankfulness, praise, and intercession that defeats the plans and purposes of the enemy. 

–Taken from The Path toward Passion (Nine Disciplines that Connect Your Heart to God’s) by Dean Trune. 

Prayer Points

Praise your God, who alone is holy (Rev. 15:4). Thank him for the glorious promise that one day all nations will come and worship him. Confess sins which keep you from drawing close to God. Commit yourself daily to exalting and worshiping your holy God. Ask God to help you keep his command to “be holy, because I am holy” (Lev. 11:45).

In all your family relationships, pray that the truth of Heb. 12:14 will be central: “Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy.”

Prayer Pointer

“If family worship is neglected, other attempts at prayer are like sprinkling the foliage of a plant while leaving the roots dry.” —Anonymous

–Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend

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