“I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit—I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, the people of Israel. . . . my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved” (Romans 9:1–3, 10:1).
Intercessors may love to pray but they also pray because they love. They lovingly invest time and energy interceding in behalf of others. If we define intercession with a love spin we might say it is a love-motivated plea, to a love-giving God, in behalf of love-needy persons, who live in a love-starved world. Love is the motivating force in all true intercession. Intercession is not simply a dispassionate communiqué in order to ask God to do something for others. It is a self-giving ministry of love and care for the benefit of others that releases God’s grace into their lives.
Intercession is prayer born of love. It is the very nature of love to give. If we truly love people we will want for them more than we are capable of giving them. For the intercessor this loving desire leads to prayer in their behalf. Prayer is a way to bring God into the lives of others so that He will do for them what they cannot do for themselves.
–Adapted from Praying God’s Heart (Prayers that Make a Difference) by Alvin VanderGriend.
Loving Lord, I repent of intercession that has not focused on love, but rather a sense of duty. Forgive my foolish attempts at prayer that seek less to involve You in the lives and situations of others than to speak a religious “formula” into the air. Help my heart to engage with You in a “self-giving ministry of love and care for the benefit of others that releases Your grace into their lives.” May every intercession I make be born out of truly loving those for whom I pray…even those who are difficult to love!
Praise God that “though he brings grief, he will show compassion . . . for he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men” (Lam. 3:32-33). Give thanks for God’s promise that your grief will be turned to joy (Jn. 16:20). Confess to him the times you let grief or affliction turn to bitterness or unconfessed sin. Commit yourself to allowing these trials or afflictions to be a stepping stone to a greater faith. Ask God to help you guard yourself in your spirit and do not break faith (Mal. 2:16).
Ask that financial pressure in your congregation will draw you together in prayer and trust, and move you forward in faith as you share with those in need (Rom. 12:12-13).
–Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend